Payment reform in the patient-centered medical home: Enabling and sustaining integrated behavioral health care

Benjamin F. Miller, Kaile M. Ross, Melinda M. Davis, Stephen P. Melek, Roger Kathol, Patrick Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a promising framework for the redesign of primary care and more recently specialty care. As defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the PCMH framework has 5 attributes: comprehensive care, patient-centered care, coordinated care, accessible services, and quality and safety. Evidence increasingly demonstrates that for the PCMH to best achieve the Triple Aim (improved outcomes, decreased cost, and enhanced patient experience), treatment for behavioral health (including mental health, substance use, and life stressors) must be integrated as a central tenet. However, challenges to implementing the PCMH framework are compounded for real-world practitioners because payment reform rarely happens concurrently. Nowhere is this more evident than in attempts to integrate behavioral health clinicians into primary care. As behavioral health clinicians find opportunities to work in integrated settings, a comprehensive understanding of payment models is integral to the dialogue. This article describes alternatives to the traditional fee for service (FFS) model, including modified FFS, pay for performance, bundled payments, and global payments (i.e., capitation). We suggest that global payment structures provide the best fit to enable and sustain integrated behavioral health clinicians in ways that align with the Triple Aim. Finally, we present recommendations that offer specific, actionable steps to achieve payment reform, complement PCMH, and support integration efforts through policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Health policy
  • Integrated care
  • Patient-centered medical home
  • Payment reform
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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