Integration of Behavioral Health in Pediatric Primary Care

Primary and behavioral care integration is a rapidly emerging avenue for improving healthcare quality. A key strategy for integration is the addition of behavioral health providers, often called Behavioral Health Clinicians (BHCs), in primary care settings. Although care integration initiatives vary considerably in their approaches, many are placing BHCs directly into physician practices as a cost-effective approach to patient-centered care.

The goal of an integrated care intervention is to improve a child’s functioning in the context of routine medical care. Integrating behavioral health services into primary care can improve health and wellbeing by:

  • identifying and responding to behavioral issues that affect health status, such as childhood trauma;
  • educating and skill building for children, youth, and families around managing physical conditions; and
  • consulting with medical providers on the impact and management of behavioral health issues.