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Integrated Behavioral Health

Integrated behavioral health and primary care includes the provision of behavioral health and physical health services in a coordinated, collaborative, team-based approach. Fully integrated clinics include several features including, but not limited to, a variety of care team expertise, patient screening, integrated protocols and workflows, and systematic patient follow-up in a fully shared physical space. Compared to traditionally fragmented provision of behavioral health and primary care, integrated clinics offer improved patient outcomes, decreased healthcare costs and improved patient and provider satsifcation.

The University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine is engaged in a wide array of programs and projects aimed at improving the state of integrated care in Colorado and across the nation. For example, Advancing Care Together (ACT), a program funded by the Colorado Health Foundation and organized as a comparative case study of 11 innovation sites, including primary care practices and community mental health centers. The aim of the ACT evaluation was to learn what practices in diverse settings and business arrangements aspired to do to better integrate the care of their patients, how they implemented their ideas, what happened to the practices as they proceeded with their plans, and the associated effects on a set of variables that matter to patients, clinicians, and policy makers.  Early results from ACT have been published [Davis MM, Balasubramanian BA, Waller E, Miller BF, Green LA, Cohen DJ. Integrating Behavioral and Physical Health Care in the Real World: Early Lessons from Advancing Care Together. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Sept - Oct 2013; 26:588-602.] Final results from the program will be published as part of a journal supplement in late 2015. For more information, please visit www.advancingcaretogether.org

Key People

Larry A. Green, Program Director
Maribel Cifuentes, Deputy Director
Deborah Cohen, Director of Evaluation (Oregon Health & Sciences University)
Linda Niebauer, Director of Communications


The Department of Family Medicine is also home to the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center. The research and practice team at the Farley Center is engaged in several integrated care endeavors. First, the team works in partnership with several states to transform traditional clinical practice into integrated environments, create learning collaboratives for ongoing clinic sustainability and design tools for understanding the costs associated with integration. Second, they have been awarded grants from several healthcare foundations to more fully understand the national barriers to integration and to convene national leaders to develop clear, actionable recommendations to move forward in this work. Third, the team engages in research examining the financial, operational and patient-level outcomes of integrated care. Team researchers and evaluators employ both qualitative and quantitative techniques to inform a variety of stakeholders including providers, administration, and healthcare policymakers. Finally, Farley Center leadership collaborates with the nation’s leaders to provide resources in integrated behavioral health and primary care.

Several key people engaged in this space include:

Benjamin Miller, PsyD, Center Director
Emma Gilchrist, MPH, Program Manager
Shandra Brown-Levey, PhD, Clinical Health Policy Research and Evaluation Associate
Stephanie Kirchner, MSPH, RD, Health System Transformation Program Manager
Lynn VanderWielen, PhD, MPH, Health Policy Research and Evaluation Associate
Shale Wong, MD, MSPH, Director of Education
Sarah Hemeida, MD, Policy Fellow
Kasie Holcomb, ASMAA, Administrative Coordinator