Policy and Financing Approaches to Integrated Behavioral Health


Although studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of integrating behavioral health and primary care, States still need to adopt policy changes to facilitate its implementation. In a recent brief, the National Academy for State Health Policy discusses this issue. The brief, Physical and Behavioral Health Integration: State Policy Approaches to Support Key Infrastructure, highlights key components of the infrastructure needed to successfully implement integrated care models. The brief also describes State policy approaches that support infrastructure for integrated care, such as strategies related to flexible Medicaid funding authorities, managed care contracting, and provider payment.

In particular, managed care environments present an opportunity for States to implement models that promote integrated behavioral health and care coordination. The Integrated Care Resource Center recently published a brief on this topic, Integrating Behavioral and Physical Health for Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees: Lessons for States Working With Managed Care Delivery Systems. The brief describes the work of six States to implement models of integrated behavioral and physical health services for beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. It highlights the lessons learned from the State experiences, including the need for leadership, oversight, information sharing, flexibility with plan contract requirements, and accountability and performance measures.

The Commonwealth Fund further explores how recent Federal regulations may encourage the integration of behavioral and physical health services in Assessing Changes to Medicaid Managed Care Regulations: Facilitating Integration of Physical and Behavioral Health Care. This brief describes two Federal rules, the Medicaid managed care rule and the Medicaid managed care mental health parity rule, and the role they may play in facilitating State implementation of integrated care for Medicaid participants.