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Behavioral Health Consultants and Specialists

Behavioral Health Consultants (BHCs) and Specialists (BHSs) are behavioral health clinicians who work in medical home settings. They work with patients as part of a team that includes physicians, nurses, physical therapists, care managers and community healthcare workers.

The table below summarizes the differences between the BHC and the BHS roles.

 

    

Behavioral Health Consultant

Behavioral Health Specialist

Primary Goals

Screen clients for BH needs

Support medical provider decision making

Build on Medical Provider interventions

Teach Medical Providers "core" mental health skills

Educate patient in self-management skills through exposure

Improve Medical Provider-patient working relationship

Monitor, with Medical Provider, "at risk" and chronic patients with BH complications or contributing factors

Deliver short term BH treatment which resolves immediate condition

Coordinate with Medical Provider

Teach patient core self-management skills

Manage more serious mental disorders over time as primary provider of patient is stable and not in need of intensive or complex services

Intervention Structure

Informal, revolves around Medical Provider

Low intensity, interval between sessions is longer

The relationship is generally not primary focus of treatment

Visits timed to coincide with Medical Provider visits

Long-term rare reserved for high risk cases

Formal, requires intake assessment, treatment planning

Higher intensity, involving more concentrated care

Relationship built to last over time, but services intermittent throughout the life cycle

Session timing not related to medical visits

Long-term follow-up encouraged for most clients

Intervention Methods

Limited face-to-face contact

Patient education model is primary

Consultation is a technical resource for patient and members of the treatment team

Emphasis on home based practice

May involve Medical Provider in-visits with patient

Face-to-face contact is primary treatment vehicle

Education model is ancillary

Medical Provider rarely involved in visits with patient

Termination/ Follow Up

Responsibility returned to Medical Provider

Medical Provider provides relapse prevention or maintenance treatment

Patient self-refers or is referred by others

 

 

SERVICE COMPONENTS

Peer Support Specialists

Community Health Workers

Care Managers

Behavioral Health Consultants and Specialists