Joint principles: Integrating behavioral health care into the patient-centered medical home

M. Baird
Alexander Blount, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Working Party Group on Integrated Behavioral Healthcare

Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Abstract

The Patient-centered Medical Home (PCMH) is an innovative, improved, and evolving approach to providing primary care that has gained broad acceptance in the United States. The Joint Principles of the PCMH, formulated and endorsed in February 2007, are sound and describe the ideal toward which we aspire. However, there is an element running implicitly through these joint principles that is difficult to achieve yet indispensable to the success of the entire PCMH concept. The incorporation of behavioral health care has not always been included as practices transform to accommodate to the PCMH ideals. This is an alarming development because the PCMH will be incomplete and ineffective without the full incorporation of this element, and retrofitting will be much more difficult than prospectively integrating into the original design of the PCMH. Therefore we offer a complementary set of joint principles that recognizes the centrality of behavioral health care as part of the PCMH. This document follows the order and language of the original joint principles while emphasizing what needs to be addressed to insure incorporation of the essential behavioral elements. It is intended to supplement and not replace the original Joint Principles document, which still stands.