Advancing clinical integration

Since 2016, Washington State has been on a journey toward fully integrating primary and behavioral health care within the Apple Health (Medicaid) program. Under integrated managed care, services are coordinated through a single health plan, including physical health, mental health, and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

From April 2016–January 1, 2020, all regions of the state completed financial integration, and through that time, clinical integration began through the support of Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs), managed care organizations (MCOs), or through individual practices wanting to better integrate clinical care.

Clinical integration

Now, the state is focusing on clinical integration and is recommending the use of a statewide, standardized assessment that also serves as an integration roadmap for practices and providers. Use of this clinical integration tool:

  • Supports whole-person care by supporting integration of primary care and behavioral health care, rather than having separate systems.
  • Improves provider communication and reduce unnecessary duplication of services.
  • Expands access to behavioral health including mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.
  • Links clients with critical community services, such as housing and employment support.

The Washington Integrated Care Assessment (WA-ICA)

The standardized assessment is called the WA-ICA, which helps providers/practices track and measure their efforts in advancing clinical integration in Washington State. It also establishes a common language and approach to integration and assists partners in identifying where funding and policy support is needed.