By Sara Afayee
What Does Integrated Care Mean in Rural Areas?
Sample Programs in Rural Communities
Considerations for Organizations Pursuing Behavioral Health Integration
The stellar work accomplished thus far by UPMC and TWI required significant workflow redesign and leadership buy-in. Organizations aiming to integrate behavioral health and primary care for older adults should begin by conducting a needs assessment of the populations currently served and determining the benefits to streamlining the multiple care systems. Full systems integration can happen by building smart, sustainable partnerships, making use of work currently being done in siloes in the community. Organizations should strongly consider local aging resources and include them as key partners and decision makers. Every aspect of the program—from the mission statement to staff recruiting and training—should take into consideration the unique needs of older adults. Finally, organizations should explore the implementation of evidence-based and promising practices in rural communities to contribute to the body of knowledge about what works.
Resources from HRSA
Editor’s Note: This article appears in the September/October, 2017, issue of Aging Today, ASA’s bi-monthly newspaper covering issues in aging research, practice and policy nationwide. ASA members receive Aging Today as a member benefit; non-members may purchase subscriptions at our online store.