Ethical Challenges Unique to the Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) Model

  • Christine N. RunyanEmail author
  • Stephanie Carter-Henry
  • Stacy Ogbeide


The interprofessional nature of the Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) model invites potential conflicts between different ethical guidelines and principles developed by separate professional disciplines. When the foundational model of care and training on which ethical principles were developed shifts, the assumptions underlying the guidance also shifts, revealing gaps and mismatches. This article reviews the extant literature in this realm, and proposes a more unifying set of ethical guidance for interprofessional, integrated primary care practice. We discuss common ethical dilemmas unique to the PCBH model through case examples, and then apply the newly proposed ethical guideline model to these cases to illustrate how the newly proposed model can be efficient and effective navigating these dilemmas.


Primary care behavioral health model Ethical issues in primary care Interprofessional competencies Ethical model 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Christine N. Runyan, Stephanie Carter-Henry, and Stacy Ogbeide declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

No animal or human studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Family and Community Medicine and PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterSan AntonioUSA

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