An Introduction into Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration

October 28, 2022

While behavioral and physical health are deeply linked, our siloed and fragmented health care system does not treat them in a coordinated and holistic way. These gaps lead to avoidable delays in diagnosis and care for patients, exacerbating the current crises of suicide, overdose, and behavioral health morbidity. To that end, the continuum of “integration” holds promise as a way to promote team-based care that meets patients’ mental health, substance use, and other medical needs. This briefing highlighted how behavioral health and primary care integration can help improve the overall health and well-being of individuals, as well as explored the opportunities and challenges in policy and practice. Panelists also discussed potential federal policy levers for better enabling integration.


  • Amy Bassano, M.A., Managing Director, Medicare, Health Management Associates (HMA)
  • Parinda Khatri, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Cherokee Health Systems
  • Harold Pincus, M.D., Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Reginald D. Williams, II, Vice President, International Health Policy and Practice Innovations, Commonwealth Fund (moderator)

This event was made possible with support from the Commonwealth Fund.

Presentation: An Introduction into Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration

Event Resources

Key Resources

(listed chronologically, beginning with the most recent) 

“What Is Integrated Behavioral Health Care (IBHC)?” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, The Academy: Integrating Behavioral Health & Primary Care. September 29, 2022. Available here. 

“What Policymakers Can Do to Address Our Behavioral Health Crisis.” Counts, N., Nuzum, R. Commonwealth Fund. September 21, 2022. Available here. 

“Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI).” U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. September 19, 2022. Available here. 

“HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration.” Bagalman, E., Dey, J., Jacobus-Kantor, L., et al. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. September 16, 2022. Available here. 

“Integrating Primary Care and Behavioral Health to Address the Behavioral Health Crisis.” Horstman, C., Federman, S., Williams, R. Commonwealth Fund. September 15, 2022. Available here. 

“Parinda Khatri, PhD, on the Use of Technology in Behavioral Health Integration.” Khatri, P. American Medical Association. May 26, 2022. Available here. 

“Testimony: Ensuring Access to Behavioral Health Care — Making Integrated Care a Reality.” Williams, R. Commonwealth Fund. March 30, 2022. Available here. 

“Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration Program: Impacts on Health Care Utilization, Cost, and Quality.” Breslau, J., Sorbero, M., Kusuke, D., et al. RAND Corporation. 2019. Available here.  

Additional Resources

(listed chronologically, beginning with the most recent) 

“Primary Care Behavioral Health Model.” Rural Health Information Hub. September 29, 2022. Available here. 

“WHO Guide for Integration of Perinatal Mental Health in Maternal and Child Health Services.” World Health Organization. September 19, 2022. Available here. 

“Encouraging Health Information Technology Adoption in Behavioral Health: Recommendations for Action.” Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. June 2022. Available here. 

“Industry Voices—How the Pharmaceutical Industry Can Turn the Tide on Mental Health.” Pisano, R. Fierce Healthcare. May 13, 2022. Available here. 

“Integrated Care’s New Protagonist: The Expanding Role of Digital Health.” Steele Gray, C. International Journal of Integrated Care. October 13, 2021. Available here. 

“Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Behavioral Disorders Program (MDRBD).” Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Division. October 2021. Available here. 

“America’s Mental Health and Substance Use Crisis Requires Integrated Care.” Donnellan, J. Bipartisan Policy Center. March 31, 2021. Available here. 

“Examples from the Field: Regional Networks of Behavioral Health Improving Access to Care.” American Hospital Association. 2021. Available here. 

“How Practices Can Advance the Implementation of Integrated Care in the COVID-19 Era.” Docherty, M., Spaeth-Rublee, B., Scharf, D., et al. Commonwealth Fund. November 17, 2020. Available here. 

“Connecting the Dots: A Full Health Approach to Integrated Care.” Nelson, V. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. July 2020. Available here. 

“Rethinking Workforce Planning for Integrated Care: Using Scenario Analysis to Facilitate Policy Development.” Rees, G., Crampton, P., Gauld, R., et al. Biomed Central Health Services Research. May 15, 2020. Available here. 

“Learn More about the Collaborative Care Model.” American Psychiatric Association. April 25, 2019. Available here. 

“Market Insights: Behavioral Health Integration.” American Hospital Association Center for Health Innovation. 2019. Available here. 

“The Role of Integrated Primary Care in Increasing Access to Effective Psychotherapies in the Veterans Health Administration.” Possemato, K., Shepardson, R., Funderburk, J. Focus: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry. October 19, 2018. Available here. 

“Integration of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services in Primary Care: Improving Access and Outcomes with Collaborative Care.” Campo, J., Geist, R., Kolko, D. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. July 2018. Available here. 



Amy Bassano, M.A. 
Health Management Associates, Managing Director, Medicare

Parinda Khatri, M.D. 
Cherokee Health Systems, Chief Executive Officer

Harold Alan Pincus, M.D.
Columbia University, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry

Reginald D. Williams II (moderator)
Commonwealth Fund, Vice President, International Health Policy and Practice Innovations

Experts and Analysts

Alexander Blount, Ed.D.
Integrated Primary Care, Inc., President

Henry Chung, M.D. 
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Professor of Psychiatry

Michele Gilbert, MPH 
Bipartisan Policy Center, Senior Policy Analyst

Larry McNeely II, MPA 
Primary Care Collaborative, Director of Policy

Anna Ratzliff, MD, Ph.D. 
University of Washington, Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Erin Bagalman, MSW 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Director, Division of Behavioral Health Policy


Matt Eyles, M.S.
America’s Health Insurance Plans, President and Chief Executive Officer

Rebekah Falkner, MSW
National Academy for State Health Policy, Senior Policy Associate, Behavioral Health, Aging, and Disability

Eliot Fishman, Ph.D.
Families USA, Senior Director of Health Policy

Karen W. Linkins, Ph.D. 
Integrated Behavioral Health Partners, Project Director

Sandra Wilkness, Ph.D. 
National Academy for State Health Policy, Senior Director, Population and Public Health