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Coordination of medical and behavioral health care

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At Point32Health, we believe collaboration and communication between primary care physicians (PCPs) and behavioral health care providers are pivotal to high quality patient care, helping to minimize adverse medication interactions, allowing for better management of treatment, and improving follow up for patients with behavioral health and other medical conditions.

Because patients with serious medical conditions often have co-occurring behavioral health issues (e.g., depression and/or anxiety, insomnia, substance use disorder) that can exacerbate their medical conditions, allowing the primary care setting to be a gateway for behavioral health as well as primary care concerns has proven to be an effective way to address the needs of the whole person and to improve health outcomes.

Coordinating care for a shared patient

Individuals with co-occurring physical and behavioral health conditions often rely on multiple organizations and treatment professionals to provide their care, requiring effective coordination for improved health outcomes and fewer gaps in care. While Point32Health does not require referrals for outpatient behavioral health treatment, we encourage all PCPs to screen patients for any behavioral health concerns and to subsequently initiate and coordinate care, as appropriate, with behavioral health specialists.

Communication among providers treating a shared patient aids the PCP by confirming that the patient has followed through with seeking care from a behavioral health care provider.

  • We encourage PCPs to request that other treating professionals provide them with relevant clinical information such as any medical, behavioral health, or substance use treatment and medications they are prescribing, and we encourage PCPs to document this information in the patient progress notes.
  • It’s also helpful to discuss with patients at their initial primary care session the benefits of coordinating their care with other health care professionals.

Patient release of information

PCPs can assist behavioral health practitioners by requesting that their patient complete a Harvard Pilgrim Health Care or Tufts Health Plan Authorization to Disclose Protected Health Information, to attain such information as the reason for the referral (e.g., presenting problem, preliminary behavioral health diagnoses, chief concern), any medical conditions the patient may have, or medications currently being prescribed, etc. You may also use your own release of information form.

Resources for additional guidance

We encourage providers to use this Coordination of Care Check List to assist with documentation of processes, contacts, and other information integral to the whole-person treatment of primary care/behavioral health patients.

Point32Health believes that the spirit of partnership and collaboration is the key to an exceptional health care experience:

For assistance with behavioral health referrals for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members, call 800-708-4414.


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