Behavioral Health

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What is Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health (BH) encompasses a wide range of health conditions including mild, moderate and severe mental health, substance use and pediatric developmental disorders.

What is Integrated Behavioral Health?

Integrated behavioral health (IBH) is the collaboration between primary care and behavioral healthcare under one roof. Improving communication and coordination between primary care and behavioral health services improves health outcomes, helps with the management of chronic conditions, and lowers the cost of care. IBH also allows providers to intervene early and at a population level, while reducing the stigma that exists around mental illness. Patients receiving IBH services are seen and cared for as a whole person.

What does Behavioral Health look like at our Community Health Centers?

All 8 of our member federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) offer comprehensive and culturally-aligned behavioral health services in-house. Network health centers have approximately 200 BH providers and staff, serving both children and adults. Each health center has an Integrated Behavioral Health program, consisting of BH clinicians as well as Integrated Behavioral Health Care Coordinators who play essential roles navigating patients between primary care and BH. All of our health centers also have consulting psychiatrists, who are employed by Alameda County and who offer consultations to our primary care providers around managing psychiatric diagnoses and medications in their patients. Half of our health centers also have providers and departments that specialize in Severe Mental Illness (SMI), catered to our patients struggling with significant and persistent psychiatric illnesses.

How does AHC/CHCN support the community’s Behavioral Health needs?

The Alameda Health Consortium and Community Health Center Network collaborate with our member community health centers to support primary care and behavioral health integration. We offer training and technical assistance, form peer and learning groups for BH providers and staff, and advocate for increased access to behavioral health services on the local, state, and federal level. AHC works in partnership with Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, and Alameda County’s Medi-Cal managed care plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Alameda Alliance for Health.

Alameda Health Consortium and Community Health Center Network are committed to the following behavioral health priority areas:

    • Further integration of behavioral health and substance use disorder into primary care, within the community-based health centers.
    • Collecting and reporting integrated and meaningful behavioral health data to inform BH operational and clinical decisions.
    • Focusing on prevention and early intervention of mental illness through the coordination and development of perinatal, pediatric and adolescent behavioral health services and programs.
    • Eliminating the criminalization of mental illness by advocating for policies that divert behavioral health patients from the criminal justice system. Focus on community based and preventative care, and disrupt the pipeline of mental health crisis to incarceration.