Integration plays a pivotal role in how patients access care, and it influences which health care professionals will provide care. There is no one-size-fits-all model for integration; models include a patient-centered medical home and an accountable care organization. Understanding how each model affects the delivery of behavioral health allows a health care leader to determine the requisite resources and training to deliver effective care. Even if a hospital or care system does not integrate behavioral health services, the organization must address how to provide these services if the community needs them, perhaps through collaboration.
With more integration in the care setting, such as in a Continuum of Care environment, greater collaboration is required to create a successful care model. In developing and cultivating collaboration, many actions are quick and easy to implement, such as organizing regular, frequent meetings between behavioral health specialists and other health care professionals. Some actions require a high degree of energy and organization, such as consistently deploying and using care managers throughout the care continuum. Even if a lower level of integration is chosen, hospital leaders still can implement new collaboration strategies.