Behavioral Health Integration and Guidance (BHIG) Initiative
The BHIG Initiative empowers your practice to support youth with low- to moderate-acuity mental and behavioral health needs. This is a no-cost program that is designed to help care providers make life better for many children in Texas.
Around 600,000 children in Texas have mental health care needs. Primary care providers generally refer all patients to psychiatrists and other specialists for treatment. But it can take months to get an appointment, prolonging a child’s suffering and potentially making their symptoms worse.
The Behavioral Health Integration and Guidance (BHIG) Initiative at Children’s Health℠ is working to close this gap in care by empowering primary care providers to support youth who have low- to moderate-acuity mental health needs.
BHIG offers continuing education for primary care providers, equipping them to treat conditions like anxiety, stress and depression. This paves the way for a more proactive and preventive approach to mental health care and aims to give children and young adults the mental health support they need, faster.
Providers benefit from:
- Continuing education on a wide range of topics. BHIG has designed 20 30-minute modules covering various mental health topics. All training is online and can be done on a provider’s own schedule. Providers can earn continuing education credit including Maintenance of Certification (MOC) for participating in this program.
- Positioning providers to offer reimbursable care via the collaborative care model. Amidst the shift to collaborative, integrated care, this program is built to enable primary care providers to provide mental health care as a billable service.
- Being part of a supportive community. When you take part in this program, you’ll join a community of providers across the area. This includes a panel of peers and psychiatrists to discuss cases and medications, and create practice guidelines.
- Joining the BHIG Provider Advisory Group (PAG). The first cohort to join BHIG has a unique opportunity to be part of the BHIG PAG. This group of pediatricians, nurses, physicians assistants and other primary care providers have early access to training. They’ll help build our community, share valuable feedback, and play a key role in changing the delivery method of pediatric mental health care.
What is the Behavioral Health Integration and Guidance (BHIG) Initiative?
BHIG was developed through years of collaborative planning, with the goal of redirecting where and when mental and behavioral health conditions in youth are detected and treated. BHIG aims to develop capacity within pediatric primary care to detect and treat behavioral health conditions and to improve access to care when referrals are necessary. We’ll do this through:
- Computer-based training opportunities
- Peer-to-peer learning communities
- Opportunities to shadow integrated care providers
- Opportunities to receive implementation-related technical assistance
What is the BHIG Provider Advisory Group (BHIG PAG)?
The BHIG Provider Advisory Group (BHIG PAG) is a small cohort of pediatric primary care providers who help shape the BHIG Initiative. They provide feedback on learning activities and serve as integrated care champions in the pediatric primary care community.
What are the benefits of joining the BHIG PAG?
- Receiving continuing education credits, including maintenance of certification
- Shaping education and training around integrated care for Texas pediatric primary care providers
- Receiving one-on-one technical assistance on implementing various integrated care models in your clinic
- Learning how to bill for components of integrated care, including but not limited to assessments and the collaborative care model
- Access to a peer learning community to act as support and sounding boards through the process of innovation and implementing components of integrated care. Time spent meeting in this peer learning community discussing research and best practices can also be classified as Category 2 Continuing Education.
What types of providers are eligible to participate in the BHIG PAG?
Any pediatric primary care provider who has a strong interest in mental health and integrated care can participate, including:
- Family medicine physicians
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
No prior experience providing integrated care is necessary.
Can more than one provider from my practice participate?
Preferably, only one provider per practice will enroll in the BHIG PAG’s initial cohort. In the future, we will invite all providers to join.
What will be expected of me as a member of the BHIG PAG?
We estimate your time commitment to be about 15 hours over a 9-month period to complete the modules, provide feedback with a small group, and earn your CME and MOC credit. After that, we anticipate an average time commitment of one hour or less per month. We will be conscious of everyone’s time and will ensure the value of your time and contributions are recognized.
Here are a few other expectations of BHIG PAG members:
- To review and provide feedback on training and education modules on integrated care topics, including, anxiety, depression and billing. Continuing education credits, including earning maintenance of certification, will be provided for participation.
- To implement – with support from BHIG Initiative staff – components of integrated care that are a good fit for your practice.
- Attend quarterly meetings with other members of the BHIG PAG and mental health and integrated care experts from Children’s Health and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to discuss emerging research, integrated care practices, and how to best support implementation throughout communities in Texas. Time spent meeting can also be classified as Category 2 Continuing Education.
- Be a champion for integrated care among pediatric primary care colleagues.
What will be covered in the training and education modules?
- The Integrated and Collaborative Care Model
- Billing for integrated and collaborative care
- Measurement-based care
- Adverse childhood experiences
- Depression and anxiety in young children
- Substance abuse diagnosis and treatment
- Attention disorders
How do I join the BHIG PAG?
How do BHIG and CPAN differ?
The BHIG Initiative and the Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN) are two different but complementary initiatives.
- CPAN supports pediatric primary care providers by providing them with a resource for free consultations with psychiatrists and psychologists at regional "hubs" regarding patients with a mental health concern. These regional hubs are supported by Texas medical schools.
- BHIG Initiative is the next step in integrated care. BHIG encourages providers to enroll with CPAN and use the telephone-based clinical consultation and care coordination features. In addition, BHIG offers:
- Individual technical assistance to practices seeking to implement other models and components of integrated care
- Peer-to-peer learning opportunities to support providers that are comfortable treating children and youth with more complex behavioral health needs
- An integrated care clinic where providers can shadow other physicians delivering integrated care and where they may refer patients whose needs are more complex.
Is there a cost to participate in the BHIG PAG?
There is no cost to participate in BHIG PAG.