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 primary 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 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. In addition, providers are encouraged to attend the 5, 90-minute, small group, case conference virtual meetings interspersed with the computer modules to discuss real case questions and learn from their peers for an additional 7.5 continuing education credits.
- Visit the BHIG Clinic or receive a live case consultation. The BHIG clinic is located in South Dallas and welcomes visitors to see how our pediatrician, skilled in providing behavioral health in primary care, intervenes with patients. Treat your patient in your office, and have our pediatrician connect virtually to your visits to ask questions and suggest interventions as part of your care.
- 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 and gain access to the BHIG website of resource materials and clinical algorithms to assist in treating your patients.
- Availability of a child psychiatrist. After completing the training, you will be able to manage your patients with mild to moderate behavioral health disorder. Patients requiring services with a child psychiatrist can be referred to BHIG for an in-person or virtual visit following a CPAN consultation and recommendation. The BHIG child psychiatrist will provide a diagnostic assessment and work with you to develop a treatment plan which may include continued psychiatric care for stabilization. The BHIG child psychiatrist will only work with patients referred from primary care providers who are part of the BHIG community to assure accessibility for new patients. Once patients are psychiatrically stabilized, the patient will be returned to you for ongoing follow up care integrated with their primary 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 are the benefits of BHIG?
- Receiving 17.5 hours of continuing education credits
- 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.
- Access to our child psychiatrist for patients who cannot be successfully managed in primary care
What types of providers are eligible to participate in BHIG?
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 BHIG at a time so that the learning is spread across the community. Additional providers can join at a later session.
What will be expected of me as a BHIG participant?
We estimate your time commitment to be about 18 hours over a 6-month period to complete the modules, attend the case discussions, provide feedback, and earn your CME credit. After that, you can invest more time as you like in obtaining a live patient consultation or guidance in making specific collaborative care changes in your practice.
Here are a few other expectations of BHIG participants:
- To implement – with support from BHIG Initiative staff – components of integrated care that are a good fit for your practice.
- 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 learn more about BHIG?
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 clinical therapists at regional "hubs" regarding patients with a mental health concern. These regional hubs are supported by Texas medical schools.
- BHIG 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, receive a virtual consultation and where they may refer patients whose needs are more complex.
Is there a cost to participate in BHIG?
There is no cost to participate in BHIG.