​Bridging medical and behavioral health care

May 4, 2022

​Management of mental health in the primary care setting is crucial for common behavioral health conditions. Coordination with behavioral health care specialists may be necessary and can enhance your ability to provide appropriate and patient-centered care. Coordination of care supports patient safety, risk identification, and adherence to treatment.

Discussing coordination with your patients

You must obtain and document patient consent prior to exchanging patient personal information and discussing patient health care with other providers, including behavioral health specialists. We encourage you to discuss the importance of coordinated medical and behavioral health care with your patients. Provide your patients with clear information about what will be shared and how that information will help the management of their medical or behavioral health care.

Coordinating with behavioral health services

For our members with complex behavioral health needs, discuss behavioral health services with them or their caregiver. If appropriate, with the member's consent, refer our members to behavioral health specialists by calling the number on the back of the member's ID card under Mental Health/Substance Abuse. For most Independence members, Magellan Healthcare, Inc. (Magellan) administers behavioral health benefits.

Regular communication with specialists providing behavioral health services to your patients is an essential component of appropriate management. Shared information could include:

  • Management of medications and treatments, especially:
    • clinical risks (e.g., antipsychotics, which may increase risk for metabolic syndrome);
    • polypharmacy and medication interactions;
    • side effects that could influence compliance with care.
  • Coordination of ordering tests and monitoring results;
  • Interactions between behavioral health and medical conditions;
  • Influence of behavioral health stressors on medical symptoms;
  • Influence of social determinants on health outcomes.

Collaborating with behavioral health services

Remember to document each communication with your patient's other providers in their medical record. To facilitate collaboration between medical and behavioral health providers, Independence and Magellan provide the following resources for providers:

  • Clinician Collaboration FormA one-page template form highlighting vital information about a patient's medical and behavioral health care and concerns. Once completed, the form should be securely sent to the receiving provider.
  • Magellan's Behavioral Health ToolkitA collection of resources to help identify potential behavioral health concerns and assist in making behavioral health referrals. The online toolkit contains descriptions of common behavioral health concerns (including substance use), user-friendly screening tools, patient handouts, provider tip sheets, informational materials, and more.
  • Quartet Health platform. A secure and virtual platform that will allow you to screen and refer your patients for behavioral health care that matches their clinical needs, personal preferences, and insurance coverage.

Additional resources

Emergency resources

For 24/7 emergency support:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For free and confidential support, call 1-800-27 3-8255.
  • Crisis Text Line. To connect with a Crisis Counselor, text HOME to 741741.

Local resources

These are local crisis and mental health services in the Philadelphia five-county area:


Magellan Healthcare, Inc. manages mental health and substance abuse benefits for most Independence members.​