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The NC Center of Excellence PDF Print E-mail

The NC Center of Excellence for Integrated Care builds upon the work of the ICARE Partnership. While the ICARE Partnership was largely concerned with educating providers on integrated care, the Center is primarily concerned with the implementation of integrated care in a variety of health care settings. Our goal is to integrate patients' physical and behavioral health care together, whether the care is delivered in an office or clinic or hospital or mental health agency.

The Center is a jointly funded project of the North Carolina Health & Wellness Trust Fund and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance. We partner with emergency departments, area mental health and case management agencies, and primary care practices to help them integrate behavioral health services into medical settings, and vice versa: to integrate medical services into behavioral health settings. The primary objective is to assist providers to treat the whole person, eliminating barriers and stigma and increasing access and coordinated clinical practice.

Deploying a small interdisciplinary team, the Center is a resource for assessment, training, and technical assistance to hospitals, area mental health agencies and their contracted providers, and primary care practices. To assure that standards of care applied by the Center are broadly agreed upon and evidence-based, the Center works with stakeholders across North Carolina to assess available evidence and best practice in clinical assessment, clinical tools, and techniques.

We offer:
• Customized training based on the needs of providers after listening closely to their concerns;

• Collaborative learning for groups of providers, such as emergency departments, to allow them to test integrated care tools and techniques within their own quality assurance programs;

• Technical assistance to providers to help them implement integrated care techniques and troubleshooting as providers initiate integrated service;

• A resource for providers to investigate evidence-based tools and techniques in integrated care.

The ICARE Partnership PDF Print E-mail

The work of the ICARE Partnership was the foundation for continued work by the NC Center of Excellence for Integrated Care. The ICARE Partnership sought to increase access to quality, evidence-based behavioral health care services for North Carolinians by helping to create a healthcare system that is Integrated, Collaborative, Accessible, Respectful and Evidence-Based.

Many North Carolinians have inadequate access to mental health, developmental disability, and substance abuse services (MH/DD/SAS), and their services for physical and behavioral health are poorly coordinated.  Primary care providers (PCPs) often must try to address unmet behavioral health needs with insufficient specialty back-up and information resources. ICARE addressed these problems by working to:

1) increase collaboration and communication between primary care and MH/DD/SAS providers.
2) increase the capacity of PCPs to provide appropriate, evidence-based behavioral health services to their patients and the capacity of MH/DD/SAS providers to screen and refer for physical illness. 

The three-year ICARE project adopted three areas of focus:

Statewide Education and Assistance
• Needs assessment to determine educational and technical assistance needs.
• Provider training and technical assistance to develop a range of provider training opportunities to encourage capacity and relationship building.  Modalities included centralized and regional workshops; web-based conferences and resources; and practice-based trainings and technical assistance.
• Development and implementation of a clinical consultation service.

Local Model Development
• Community Systems – Development of integrated and coordinated local systems around the "Four Quadrant Model" to include improved care planning, communication, support (resource directories and consultation) and the development of evidenced-based programs to care for patients with targeted behavioral health problems.
• Practice Implementation – Providing practice-based technical assistance to local providers to assure implementation of best practices.

Process and Policy Change
• Reporting practice-based, community, regional and statewide changes recommended or implemented as a result of the ICARE initiative.

Access the full History of the ICARE PARTNERSHIP