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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Primary Care Behavioral Health: The Basics for a New Model of Mental Healthcare

by Jeff Reiter, PhD, ABPP 3 CE Credits

Primary care is fast emerging as an area of tremendous opportunity for behavioral health professionals. Patients regularly present to primary care providers for treatment of the entire spectrum of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, while at the same time these problems are often undetected in many primary care patients. A tremendous variety of other behaviorally-based problems are also common in primary care, such as chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes), stress- and lifestyle-related health problems (e.g., chronic pain, insomnia), sub-threshold problems (e.g., parenting questions, bereavement), and preventive care needs (e.g., smoking cessation). Unfortunately, treatment outcomes for behaviorally-based problems in primary care are often unimpressive, owing to the generally insufficient training and time given to primary care providers for such problems. In response to the clear need for more behavioral health help in primary care, many clinics are bringing behavioral health professionals on to the primary care team. Yet, primary care is a very different world from specialty mental health, and there is often not a clear understanding by either the primary care clinic or the behavioral health professional of how to make this new partnership successful. This course helps behavioral health professionals understand how to succeed in the world of primary care. Beginners will find clear, practical advice on the topics they most need to know about to get started, such as how to structure a service and get off to a robust start. Those with experience in primary care will gain ideas for growing their service and evaluating their progress to ensure they are meeting the clinic’s needs. And those merely interested in the topic will likely find much that surprises them about this exciting new growth area for behavioral health professionals.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 3 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForumOnline, LLC, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0355
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Primary Care Under Siege: An Overview
  • What is the Impact on the Primary Care System?
  • What is the Effect on the Patient?
  • Bringing Help to a Broken System: Proper Mental Health Management
  • Primary Care Behavioral Health Basics
  • Initiating the New BHC: The Mission, Structure and Key Players in the Primary Care Clinic
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Recognize at least 4 behaviorally-based health problems that commonly present in primary care.
  • List 2 prominent challenges the primary care system faces in identifying and treating these behaviorally-based problems and recognize the role of behavioral/mental health in overcoming these context-specific challenges.
  • Discuss the 2 primary goals of the Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) model and clinically translate its 6 components into a primary practice setting using a navigational guide that details  the mission, structure and key players in a primary care clinic.