Primary care settings have become a gateway for many individuals with behavioral health and primary care needs. To address these needs, North Carolina health centers are integrating behavioral health care services into their practice setting.
Behavioral health is an umbrella term that includes mental health and substance abuse conditions, life stressors and crises, stress-related physical symptoms, and health behaviors. Integrated behavioral health care blends care in one setting for medical conditions and related behavioral health factors that affect health and well-being. Integrated behavioral health care, a part of “whole-person care,” is a rapidly emerging shift in the practice of high-quality health care.
Health centers provide both mental health and substance abuse services. Health centers must provide behavioral health services, either directly themselves or through agreement with another provider.
Recent HRSA investments, including the Access Increases in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (AIMS) Supplemental Funding and Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services (SUD-MH) Supplemental Funding, have allowed NC health centers to expand behavioral health services.
NC health centers are also leaders in addressing the opioid crisis. A number of health centers provide medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction.
Behavioral health services at NC health centers will continue to grow. In 2017, HRSA awarded more $6 million to support expansion of behavioral health services in 36 NC health centers through the Access Increases in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (AIMS) supplemental funding. AIMS funding supports the expansion of access to mental health and substance abuse services focusing on the treatment, prevention, and awareness of opioid abuse. Health centers will enhance these services by increasing personnel and leveraging health information technology and training.
NC health centers are also leaders in addressing the opioid crisis. A number of health centers provide medication assisted therapy for opioid addiction, as well as counseling and other support services.
NCCHCA convenes a workgroup of behavioral health providers, administrators, and staff from FQHCs and partner organizations. The Behavioral Health Workgroup meets quarterly to discuss behavioral health and to contribute ideas, experiences and share best practices. Email Alice Pollard to sign up for the Behavioral Health Workgroup.
NCCHCA Behavioral Health Training and Technical Assistance
NCCHCA, working alongside a number of partner organizations, provides training and technical assistance to FQHC Behavioral Health programs and FQHC Medication Assisted Treatment Programs. For more information, email Alice Pollard.
Using evidence based approaches customized to fit local needs, NC-based COE serves as a resource for assessment, training, and technical assistance to a variety of organizations. Currently they work with over 30 sites and programs such as primary care offices, clinics and hospitals, community collaboratives, school-based health centers, and local government organizations.
Depression Screening and Follow-up: This performance measure requires health centers to report the number of patients age 12 and older screened for depression and receiving a follow-up plan (if diagnosed).
Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment: Health centers annually report this performance measure, as well as other substance abuse counseling and treatment services. SBIRT identifies, reduces, and prevents substance abuse.
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