Eight physician groups team up to educate clinicians on behavioral health integration

CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) announced the creation of the Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) Collaborative to assist physicians in integrating mental and behavioral health services into their medical practices.

“Without a clear roadmap for success, integrating mental and physical health services has been a challenge for medical practices,” said AMA Immediate Past President Patrice Harris, MD, MA, in a press release. “The AMA is committed to accessible and equitable treatment for behavioral, mental, and physical health needs, and the BHI Collaborative will provide physicians with a proven playbook for implementing a holistic approach to physical, mental, and behavioral health to meet the needs of all patients.”

The AMA explained that the BHI Collaborative plans to create an online compendium “that will offer the collective resources of eight national physician organizations,” including the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the AMA itself.

“The compendium will be a one-stop online collection for physician-tested resources that provide a proven pathway for delivering behavioral and mental health care in a primary care setting,” the AMA wrote. Once the compendium has grown to a substantial size, the AMA intends to offer free access to online webinars and remote learning opportunities to help teach physicians the “key steps, best practices, and tools” necessary to integrate mental and behavioral health care into their practice.

The AMA pointed to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as one of the instigators of this move, noting that more than half of Americans believe that their mental health has deteriorated over the course of the pandemic, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey — what’s more, these mental health crises have disproportionately hit Black and Hispanic communities in the U.S., according to the CDC.

“For medical practices looking to accelerate behavioral health integration as quickly as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic, the BHI Collaborative not only offers a proven path toward implementation, but also an efficient path that does not require a major overhaul of current workflow or entail significant financial outlays,” the AMA wrote.

John McKenna, Associate Editor, BreakingMED™

Cat ID: 146

Topic ID: 87,146,730,192,146,150,151,925