Physical and Behavioral Health Integration: Considerations for Payers and Policy Makers

Making the Case for Behavioral Health Integration

Authors: Andrea Pederson, Laura Tabellion, and Cheryl Holt 

Too often, our physical and behavioral healthcare providers operate in silos, resulting in insufficient care coordination and more costly care for patients. State and federal policy makers, as well as leading provider organizations and commercial payers, are increasingly taking note of the need to minimize the chasm between the physical and behavioral health systems to holistically treat the mind and body.

This brief is the first of a three-part series dedicated to state Medicaid policy options and implementation considerations related to physical and behavioral health integration.

Key Takeaways 

  • The mind and body are interconnected. Behavioral and physical health conditions can significantly impact one another.
  • Physical and behavioral health integration helps to achieve the Triple Aim by improving health outcomes, reducing overall long-term healthcare costs, and improving patient and provider experiences.
  • There is an array of effective models for integrating physical and behavioral healthcare that vary based on the level of provider collaboration.
  • Successful integration requires a variety of practice supports centered on provider collaboration.


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