Integrating behavioral health and primary care services

Submitted by: 04/08/2015 by Maureen Fitzgerald

The ATTC Network’s new white paper, Integrating Substance Use Disorder and Health Care Services in an Era of Health Reform is now available! It’s the first of three white papers that ATTC workgroups have developed as part of the Network’s initiative to advance integration.

“The main goals of this paper are to emphasize the need for better integration of substance use disorder and health care services,” says Stan Sacks, lead author of the paper. “We are hoping that the paper will be used as a resource that leads to better preparation of the addiction treatment workforce for health care reform and an increased effort to integrate SUD and mental health with health care services.”

The paper starts with the “why”, giving an overview of today’s integration landscape, the impact of health care reform, and the research evidence supporting integration. It follows with the “what” — brief descriptions of effective models for integration and specific evidence-based practices that have been used successfully in integrated care settings.

Section 4 of the paper, “Technology Transfer/Implementation Support and Guidance,” turns to implementation science to answer the question of “How?” Just how do we make integration happen? Among the approaches recommended you’ll find both the ATTC Technology Transfer Model and the NIATx model.

Two case studies from the NIATx website explain explain the why, what, and how for addiction treatment agencies that integrated primary care services:

Integrating substance abuse and primary care: the NACHC/NIATx Learning Collaborative

Partnering with an FQHC to delivery primary care: Lincoln St. Clinic

Is your organization working on integrating services with primary care in an FQHC or a hospital?  Share your story by contacting Maureen Fitzgerald at

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