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Consultant’s Corner: Integrating Behavioral Health into Primary Care Practices

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This episode of the Consultant’s Corner podcast features MGMA consultants James Corbett, MDiv, JD, and Kate Bailey, MPH, discussing integrating behavioral health services into primary care practices. Sitting with host Daniel Williams, MBA, MSEM, both explored trends in behavioral health, challenges with integration, strategies for billing and staffing, as well as the future of crisis care. 

Key Takeaways:

- Corbett and Bailey discuss the integration of behavioral health in primary practices, highlighting the benefits of a non-hospital based approach and the potential for technology to enhance care. They emphasize the importance of community involvement and hyperlocal focus in shaping behavioral healthcare, particularly in areas funded by the opioid settlement.

-While discussing challenges in integrating behavioral health into medical practices, including setting up the right model and communication/collaboration strategies, Bailey emphasized the importance of credentialing and billing in this integration.

-Regarding the impact of federal dollars on behavioral health practices, states and counties are leveraging these funds to bring in practices for outpatient care and crisis care. Corbett explains that practices are in the infancy stages of utilizing these funds, but there is a lack of standardization in behavioral health that is not accepted in other specialties.

- Practices can address billing and staffing issues by engaging in strategies such as developing mobile crisis teams and community-based care. As behavioral health issues have been exacerbated since COVID, there is a growing understanding of the need for crisis care. Corbett highlights the need for a workplace development program in behavioral health in both rural and urban areas.

- Regarding the future of behavioral healthcare, holistic care will be prioritized across healthcare entry points, including social drivers of health. There is an increasing need for better evidence-based behavioral care that focuses on patient driven and hyperlocal approaches. When leveraging technology to improve care, there are ethical considerations to ensure that privacy and autonomy are prioritized.


Corbett: “I'm really excited about the crisis care movement because I think it's going to play a role in changing the behavioral health crisis.”

Bailey: “I think we’re going to see more of a push toward holistic care at every point of entry in the healthcare system.”

SAMHSA Guidelines for Crisis Care Systems

Connect with the Guests:
James Corbett on MGMA

Kate Bailey on MGMA

Initium Health

James on LinkedIn

Kate on LinkedIn

MGMA Consulting

Connect with MGMA:
Let us know if there's a topic you want us to cover, an expert you would like us to interview or if you would like to appear on the MGMA Podcast Network. Email us at Also, if you have a question for our Sr Advisor Cristy Good, email

Today’s podcast is sponsored by RingCentral 
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Support for this podcast also comes from ilumed
ilumed helps Medicare providers practice better medicine so they can get paid in up to three ways. Whether you’re just starting your value-based-care journey or ready to take it to the next level, ilumed can help you do more for your patients while earning more. ilumed offers simple solutions for a complicated industry. Let’s heal healthcare together. Visit to learn more.
Consultant’s Corner: Integrating Behavioral Health into Primary Care Practices
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