Physical and behavioral health integration delayed in North Sound region

Friday, November 2, 2018

Washington is moving to integrated physical and behavioral health care for Apple Health (Medicaid) clients statewide by January 2020.

The North Sound region (Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island, and San Juan counties) had planned to integrate on Jan. 1, 2019. HCA has worked closely with the North Sound BHO and have determined more time is needed to ensure a smooth transition that serves the community.

This means the BHO will continue operations for some period, and then convert to an administrative service organization (ASO) on the agreed-upon date (targeted for April 2019). At that time, the five managed care plans will assume responsibility for Medicaid-funded behavioral health services, and the ASO will provide community services such as crisis mental health or substance use disorder services regardless of insurance.

HCA will continue working closely with the community to ensure all the pieces are in place for successful implementation. HCA team members are working to ensure the system and communication needs for Apple Health clients and providers are adjusted.

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 Apple Health, through managed care.

Two regions (Southwest and North Central) have already integrated. The remaining regions plan to integrate on Jan. 1, 2019, or Jan. 1, 2020.

Learn more about integrated physical and behavioral health care.