Oregon to Launch Learning Collaborative for Physical and Behavioral Health Integration

Patient Care Primary Care InstituteLast week, the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Institute announced that a year-long learning collaborative focused on improving the integration of behavioral and primary care, particularly in mental health and substance abuse clinics and treatment centers, will begin later this month.

Integrating primary and behavioral health care is a big focus of Oregon’s coordinated care organizations (CCOs) and primary care homes.

For many CCOs, patients with severe mental health illnesses and problems with substance abuse are a high priority population to treat: they tend to be less likely to access primary care and leave health conditions untreated, frequently use the emergency room, and can represent high costs to the health care system.

The Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Institute is a collaboration between the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation and the Northwest Health Foundation. The institute provides technical assistance and learning opportunities that build Oregon’s capacity of primary care homes.

Learning collaboratives allow providers to learn from each other—they share information and best practices, test and possibly implement short-term improvement projects, participate in listserv discussions, receive technical assistance, and identify the ways in which a practice needs to change in order to facilitate behavioral and physical health integration.

The collaborative will run from this month until February 2015. Approximately 15 to 25 practices are expected to participate.