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Integrated physical and behavioral health care

The state is changing how it pays for delivery of physical health services, mental health services and substance use disorder (SUD) services in the Medicaid (Apple Health) program.

What is integrated physical and behavioral health?

Through this whole-person approach to care, physical and behavioral health needs will be addressed in one system through an integrated network of providers, offering better coordinated care for patients and more seamless access to the services they need. This is an initiative under Healthier Washington to bring together the payment and delivery of physical and behavioral health services for people enrolled in Medicaid, through managed care.

Why is the current system changing?

Before care was integrated, Medicaid clients with co-occurring disorders had to navigate three separate systems in order to access the physical and behavioral health services they needed to stay healthy. The physical health, mental health, and substance use disorder delivery systems often didn’t communicate about clients’ care, which led to duplication of services, poorly coordinated care, lower health outcomes, and a frustrating experience for our states’ Medicaid clients and the providers who serve them.

See the regional resources page for additional materials about physical and behavioral health integration.