Even though primary and behavioral healthcare fall under the healthcare umbrella, these specialties can provide vast differences in terms of cultures, funding streams, philosophies, and overall approaches to treatment. The goal is to promote the needs of people with mental health and substance use conditions whether they obtain medical attention from a primary care or from a behavioral healthcare provider.
To address the issue of blending primary care electronic data with behavioral health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and HRSA have joined together to form the “SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions” (CIHS). The Center is operated by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare under a cooperative agreement from HHS.
CIHS provides training and technical assistance to 64 community behavioral health organizations that collectively received more than $26.2 million in Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration Grants. Grant awards were made to community health centers and other primary care and behavioral health organizations. The training helps to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of integrated services.
One success story includes Weber Human Services a behavioral health provider and the Midtown Community Health Center together forming the “Wellness Center” located in Ogden Utah. They now share clinical information, share registries, and provide continuity of care documents.
In another case, the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI) a not-for-profit organization, was recently awarded $600,000 subcontract to extend access to “Currentcare, the statewide HIE to the behavioral health community serving 54,000 individuals.
Since “currentcare” went live in 2011, more than 200,000 Rhode Islanders have enrolled and more than 4,000,000 health records from the state’s largest medical laboratories, eight hospitals, and several small practices have been processed. Under the subcontract, nine community mental health organizations will be added to the first group of “currentcare” users.
RIQI’s subcontract will fund the development of the necessary infrastructure and initiatives such as:
• Drive voluntary enrollment in “currentcare” among behavioral health patients
• Roll out the system to behavioral health providers to enable them to view clinical information on enrolled patients along with their laboratory results and medication histories
• Securely exchange data between practice-based EHRs and “currentcare”
• Connect behavioral health and other providers through Direct Messaging, a secure email service
Rhode Island is one of only five states to receive funding under this program. The other states to receive funds from CIHS are Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, and Oklahoma.