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The quality of patient care improves when patients are cared for by an interdisciplinary health care team of primary care staff including behavioral health care providers. Thus, behavioral health providers have been integrated into primary care clinics throughout VISN 2.
The integrated behavioral health provider’s office is in the primary care clinic. This allows him or her to work closely with the primary care medical team. The behavioral health provider may be a nurse practitioner, a psychologist, or a social worker.
The goals of integrated primary care include:
early identification of problems
quick resolution of problems
long-term problem prevention
health and wellness promotion
Integrated behavioral health providers work with Veterans and medical teams to help with multiple health concerns, including but not limited to
Brief interventions for anxiety and depression
Brief tobacco and substance use interventions
Advancing healthcare by lifestyle changes and coping with chronic illness
Typically, integrated behavioral health providers in primary care have advanced access appointments, allowing Veterans to have same-day access to care with short wait times. Integrated behavioral health providers are likely to provide Veterans with educational handouts and use brief interventions within brief sessions. The focus is on improving functioning, and helping your medical provider help you.
While not a substitute for intensive specialty care, integrated primary care enables many patients to benefit from brief treatments and opens up access to specialty services for those who require more intensive treatment.
Talk to your Primary Care Provider if you think this kind of care might be helpful for you.