Implementation of a Reverse Colocation Model: Lessons from Two Community Behavioral Health Agencies in Rural Pennsylvania
Integrating Physical Health Care and Wellness Services in Community Behavioral Health Agencies: Case Studies of Two Agencies in Pennsylvania
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
This qualitative study examined the implementation of a reverse colocation pilot program that sought to integrate medical care in two community behavioral health agencies. To accomplish this, each agency hired a registered nurse, provided training for its staff to function as wellness coaches, and implemented a web-based tool for tracking consumer outcomes. The findings from two rounds of stakeholder discussions and consumer focus groups suggested that agencies successfully trained their staffs in wellness coaching, integrated nurses into agency functions, developed integrated care planning processes, and increased awareness of wellness among staff and consumers. Similar to other complex interventions, the agencies experienced challenges including difficulty establishing new procedures and communication protocols, discomfort among staff in addressing physical health concerns, difficulty building collaborative relationships with primary care providers, and modest uptake of the web-based tool. The study offers insights into the practical aspects of integrating care and makes recommendations for future efforts.