Primary Care Behavioral Health Integration: Tips from the CCO Oregon Central Oregon Summit

July 14, 2014   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: Behavioral Health Integration , Central Oregon , Conference
Kate Elliott, PCPCI

One of my biggest takeaways from the recent CCO Central Oregon Summit on Primary Care Behavioral Health, which took place on June 13 in Bend, was how important a shared understanding of “behavioral health integration” is to health care transformation efforts in Oregon.

The most widely referenced definition among speakers at this year’s summit was from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) publication Lexicon for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration, which is available along with other Behavioral Health Integration resources on our website.

Once you have defined integrated care, the next step is developing a clinical model that supports behavioral health integration, according to the keynote speaker, Dr. Parinda Khatri, Chief Clinical Officer at Cherokee Health Systems in Tennessee. Dr. Khatri shared their “Behaviorally Enhanced Healthcare Home” clinical model, which included having a Behaviorist on the primary care team, a shared patient panel, shared support staff, and behavioral health access and collaboration at the point of primary care.

Dr. Khatri went on to explain that integrated behavioral health must fulfill the functions of primary care in order to be effective: contact, comprehensive, coordinated and continuous. She also offered suggested strategies for integrating psychiatry into primary care and addressed key challenges, such as competing priorities, financing and workforce development, as well as tips for overcoming these challenges that clinics face when integrating behavioral health.

Dr. Khatri shared her experience in addressing these challenges by building an inter-professional team that is mission-minded, team-oriented, committed to excellence, flexible, has great communication skills, and is respectful of other professionals.

The CCO Oregon Central Oregon Summit on Primary Care Behavioral Health offered a full day of engaging presentations, discussions, brainstorming sessions and best practice sharing. You can access the agenda and powerpoint presentations from the keynote presentation as well as the breakout sessions for further details on the CCO Oregon website.


Kate Elliott is the Program Manager for the Patient-Centered Primary Care Institute, managed by the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation.