Provider and Staff Perceptions and Experiences Implementing Behavioral Health Integration in Six Low-Income Health Care Organizations

  • Heather Farb
  • Katie Sacca
  • Margaret Variano
  • Lisa Gentry
  • Meagan Relle
  • Jane Bertrand


Behavioral health integration (BHI) is a proven, effective practice for addressing the joint behavioral health and medical health needs of vulnerable populations. As part of the New Orleans Charitable Health Fund (NOCHF) program, this study addressed a gap in literature to better understand factors that impact the implementation of BHI by analyzing perceptions and practices among staff at integrating organizations. Using a mixed-method design, quantitative results from the Levels of Integration Measure (LIM), a survey tool for assessing staff perceptions of BHI in primary care settings (n=86), were analyzed alongside qualitative results from in-depth interviews with staff (n=27). Findings highlighted the roles of strong leadership, training, and process changes on staff collaboration, relationships, and commitment to BHI. This study demonstrates the usefulness of the LIM in conjunction with in-depth interviews as an assessment tool for understanding perceptions and organizational readiness for BHI implementation.


Behavioral health integration Integrated care Primary care Behavioral health Provider perceptions Measuring integration Program implementation Mixed methods evaluation 



This research was supported by the New Orleans Charitable Health Fund. The authors would like to thank Jeff Capobianco, MA, PhD, from the National Council for Behavioral Health and Lisanne Brown, PhD, for reviewing the article; Caitlin Evrard, MPH, Nilima Mehta, MPH, Alex Loizias, MSW, and Emily Costello, MSW, for assisting with data collection; and Taslim van Hattum, MSW, MPH, Sarah Gillen, MPH, and Joe Kimbrell, MSW, MPH, for their support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Louisiana Public Health InstituteNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Louisiana Department of HealthOffice of Public Health, Bureau of Family HealthNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Ochsner Health SystemJeffersonUSA
  4. 4.OptumMetairieUSA
  5. 5.Department of Global Health Management and PolicyTulane School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineNew OrleansUSA

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