Considering Collaborative Care? Here Are 5 Commonly Asked Questions
Collaborative care models may offer a more efficient and effective way to diagnose and treat ADHD in children than traditional office visits. Learn more about this whole-person approach to health with the help of ADDitude editors and experts.
Integrated behavioral health care revolves around collaboration between primary care and behavioral health professionals in a shared setting. A pediatrician, psychiatrist, and social worker, for example, all share pertinent information about a patient in order to ensure that no health considerations or solutions are overlooked, no symptoms are misconstrued, no time or effort is wasted, and no pain points are left unaddressed.
Though this approach has produced improved outcomes for patients and clinicians, it is still largely underutilized. Following a recent ADHD Experts webinar titled “Integrated Care for Children with ADHD: How to Form a Cross-Functional Care Team,” ADDitude editors provided answers (and relevant resources) to commonly asked questions on collaborative care. Find those responses below.
Q1: “Why center integrated ADHD care around primary care doctors when you have access to mental health professionals?”
A primary care provider (PCP) is one of few medical professionals with a whole-person approach to care. In many cases, the PCP has already established an in-depth, trusting relationship with the patient and family. They also act as an opportune gateway to additional healthcare services.
Rather than starting from scratch elsewhere, involving a PCP when seeking ADHD diagnosis and treatment options may save families time (and money). PCPs can initiate diagnostic assessments using validated screeners, exams, and patient history. In an integrated care model, they can also collaborate with psychiatrists and behavioral health care managers to develop, implement, and adjust treatment plans.
- Download: Who Can Treat ADHD?
- Read: Care Coordination: Forming an ADHD Treatment Team for Children
- Read: How Pediatricians Can Help School-Age Kids
Q2: “Does integrated care include help for children who experience social challenges associated with their ADHD? If so, who leads that effort?”
Both the physical and behavioral needs of patients are addressed in an integrated care approach. Addressing social struggles in children with ADHD might fall first on the behavioral health care manager (BHCM), who acts as a linchpin between the medical care team and the child’s daily life. The BHCM partners with parents to outline goals and develop a plan while networking with schools and community agencies to provide accommodations and evidence-based treatment. Throughout this process, the BHCM is routinely updating the care team and monitoring patient progress.
- eBook: The ADHD Guide to Making & Keeping Friends
- Read: The Social Executive Function Skills That Elude Kids with ADHD
- Read: “Collaborative Care” Improves ADHD Symptoms in Children
Q3: “How do I find an integrated care practice in my area?”
Integrated care models are not standard, but they are becoming more common around large children’s hospitals and academic centers. If you live near a large children’s hospital, approach the primary care practice and ask if behavioral health is embedded in their pediatric clinics. Otherwise, talk to your pediatrician’s office to determine potential opportunities for collaborative care.
- Search: The ADDitude Directory
- Research: ADDitude’s Top ADHD Clinics
- Read: Picking ADHD Professionals to Treat Your Child
Q4: “Are there specific, evidence-based training programs available for parents?”
BHCMs may provide brief, evidence-based training for parents with the goal of teaching skills and reducing barriers to care. Check out these resources available through Seattle Children’s Hospital and its First Approach Skills Training (FAST) Program.
- Understand: Is Parent Training a Key to ADHD Symptom Control?
- Read: Behavioral Parent Training for ADHD: Strategies That Work
- Sign Up: ADDitude’s Free Parenting Class
Q5: “How does the billing process work in an integrated care model?”
Though billing varies by state and by insurance plan, CPT codes are available to collaborative care practices. Watch this video for information on effective billing and coding strategies. Visit the AIMS Center online to learn more.
The content for this article was based on questions submitted by live attendees during the ADDitude ADHD Experts webinar titled, “Integrated Care for Children with ADHD: How to Form a Cross-Functional Care Team” [Video Replay & Podcast #411] with Leslie F. Graham, MSW, Douglas Russell, M.D., Sheryl Morelli, M.D., which was broadcast live on July 12, 2022.
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