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Wash. Consults Primary Care Providers on Mental Health Care

Washington’s Mental Health Integration Program integrates mental health screenings and treatment in a collaborative care model. The program links community health center behavioral health coordinators to primary care providers across the state to meet virtually with a consulting psychiatrist on a weekly and one-on-one basis, as needed. The Community Health Plan of Washington — one of the state’s Medicaid managed care plans — administers the program in partnership with the public health department of King County and association member University of Washington (UW) Medical Center.

In the program’s infancy, it was primarily funded through state legislative appropriations. Now, it is funded by a combination of public and commercial billing and support from the UW health system. The state’s Medicaid program reimburses Medicaid managed care plans for many telehealth services, in addition to those by fee-for-service providers. Private payers (including employee health plans and Medicaid managed care) must reimburse a provider for services delivered through telehealth or store-and-forward, under certain circumstances.

The program operates statewide in more than 130 safety net primary care settings that serve Medicaid and uninsured populations. The program began as a state-funded pilot for high-risk uninsured adults in King and Pierce counties.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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