Some clinics use a scheduling model that apportions the behavioral health counselors’ time to a 75% direct client care and 25% administrative/open time ratio. Many clinics limit individual behavioral care appointments to between 15 and 30 minutes.
To maximize client engagement, research indicates that a second visit should occur within 14 days of the initial contact and a third and fourth visit within 30 days of the second visit. (“Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration 101: Organizational Models from the Field”, Barbara Mauer et al., 2006).
Because a close, collaborative relationship between the behavioral counselor and the primary care provider is the crux of integrated care, it is important that behavioral services take place within the primary care setting, as close as possible and ideally intermingled with the primary care providers. Ease of access by providers to counselors and vise versa is essential if integrated care is to be successful. In addition to a private location to see clients, counselors shoud have access to a work-station for charting, phone calls, messages, etc.