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RCORP - Rural Center of Excellence on SUD Prevention

Implementation and Training: Integrating Behavioral Health into Rural Primary Care Practices

This resource page contains tools for providers in rural primary care settings who seek assistance on providing more robust care for people with mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs). It lists training material and resources for:

  • Clinicians preparing for the role of Behavioral Health Care Manager (BHCM) in primary care. In the adapted approach to BHCM we suggest, qualified clinical staff—such as a registered nurse with some experience and/or special interest in behavioral health—could train to transition into the role of managing care for patients with mental health and/or SUDs.
  • Primary care practices interested in implementing the BHCM role

Training for the BHCM Role

UR Medicine Recovery Center of Excellence

Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in Primary Care: A Practical Solution to an Urgent Need

The center has developed comprehensive training on the treatment of SUD in primary care to prepare providers and staff to deliver evidence-based care to patients. Educational modules are provided at no cost and carry continuing education credits. Topics include:

  • Overview of SUD and Primary Care-Based Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
  • Integrating SUD Treatment in Primary Care
  • Practical Applications for integrating SUD
  • Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
  • SUD and the Growing Hepatitis C Virus Epidemic

Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center, University of Washington

Behavioral Health Care Manager Training Course

The AIMS Center provides extensive support and training for implementation, including a comprehensive course to prepare clinicians to be successful in the BHCM role. The course description notes that “many different types of providers can be successful in this role, including clinical social workers, counselors, therapists, nurses, and psychologists. What is important is that, regardless of their job title or training background, a provider performs the key functions associated with effective integrated care.” This online, 9-hour, self-paced course focuses on those key functions, provides continuing education credits, and is for:

  • Organizations seeking a comprehensive onboarding tool for new BHCMs
  • Clinicians new to the BHCM role interested in self-guided learning
  • Experienced BHCMs looking to refine and refresh their skills

Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC)

Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) Training

A community development financial institution, PCDC provides onsite or remote customized training to help primary care practices advance community health. Offerings in BHI include:

  • Brief Behavioral Interventions
  • Brief Integrated Care Visits
  • Finding the Right Primary Care and BHI Model
  • Increasing Utilization and Referrals to the Behavioral Health Consultant
  • Integrated Behavioral Health Consultants 101
  • Motivational Interviewing for Health Behavior Change
  • Primary Care Providers Working in Behavioral Health 101

University of Michigan School of Social Work

Online Certificate in Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care

This certificate training program is designed for clinicians—such as social workers, nurses, care managers, psychologists, and physicians—who deliver or plan to deliver integrated health services in a primary care practice, with tracks in adult, pediatric, and combined adult and pediatric training.

Resources for Practices

Academy for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) established the academy to create a centralized resource hub to promote and support integration of behavioral health into primary and ambulatory care settings with a focus on providing care for patients with SUD, particularly OUD. The academy’s mission is to assist professional practices interested in implementing BHI. Tools and resources include:

Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub)

RHIhub provides a comprehensive overview about BHI and many links to government and other websites with resources about BHI and implementation, including:

  • A Quick Start Guide to Behavioral Health Integration for Safety-Net Primary Care Providers, developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Health Resources and Services Administration Center for Integrated Health Solutions

American Medical Association (AMA) Steps Forward

AMA Steps Forward is a collection of interactive, educational toolkits that are practical, how-to guides to help physicians transform their practices. The Behavioral Health Integration into Primary Care toolkit describes various integrated behavioral health models and helps primary care practices select and implement the appropriate model for their practice.

Behavioral Health Information Compendium

This compendium was developed in 2021 by the BHI Collaborative (led by the AMA, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Physicians, and other physician organizations) as a tool for physicians and practices to learn about and implement BHI.

Program Assistance

For more information and help with implementing the BHCM role in your practice, please contact UR Medicine Recovery Center of Excellence Program Assistance. You can reach us directly at 1-844-263-8762 (1-844-COE-URMC) or