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Promising Practices in Virtual Integrated Behavioral Health Care
Lessons from Community Health Centers during COVID-19; February 2021

Resource Topic: HIT/Data, Promising Practice

Resource Subtopic: Behavioral Health, COVID-19, Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Telehealth, Patient Engagement.

Keywords: Access to Care, Appointments, Communication, Transparency, and Outreach, Patient Portals, Performance Improvement, Policies and Procedures.

Year Developed: 2021

Resource Type: Publication.

Primary Audience: Administrative Staff C-Suite (CEOs, CFOs, CIO, COOs, CMOs, etc.) Clinicians

Language: English

Developed by: HITEQ (See other resources developed by this organization).

Resource Summary: With the rapid shift to telehealth services propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, many community health centers had to rapidly transition to a mechanism of care delivery previously unknown and unfamiliar. Within a matter of days and weeks, health centers creatively found ways to transform workflows and approaches to care delivery to continue to provide care even if the patient was physically distant. This resource highlights promising practices in virtual integrated behavioral health care identified from community health centers.

Resource Details: With the rapid shift to telehealth services propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, many community health centers had to rapidly transition to a mechanism of care delivery previously unknown and unfamiliar. Within a matter of days and weeks, health centers creatively found ways to transform workflows and approaches to care delivery to continue to provide care even if the patient was physically distant. This resource highlights promising practices in virtual integrated behavioral health care identified from community health centers. Generated from observations in group and individual conversations with health center leaders, primary care association staff, and behavioral health practitioners over a three-month period in Fall 2020, this document provides a brief snapshot into the tremendous creativity and hard work that has characterized health center operations since the start of the pandemic. While this summary is intended to spark adaptation and improvement, it is also a testament to the flexibility and patient focus that health center staff demonstrate every day prior to and during these unprecedented times.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,375,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.