SIM supports behavioral health providers via interactive training

By Connor Holzkamp


More than 200 behavioral health providers from around the state attended an Integrated Behavioral Health Best Practices Training event Nov. 2 at training sites in Denver, Alamosa, Durango, La Junta, Grand Junction and Fort Morgan. The interactive training event was organized by the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and funded by Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM), a federally-funded, Governor’s office initiative that is helping about 25% of the primary care practices and four of the community mental health centers in the state move along a continuum of integrated care. The training was designed to help behavioral health providers gain the tools they need to succeed in integrated primary care settings and feedback indicates success.

“Finally, a training for behavioral health providers,” said one clinician in attendance. “We have been looking for this type of training since the beginning of SIM. Thank you!”

Throughout the day, trainees completed the Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) Training Bundle, which comprises six training modules developed by the University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine and OBH. The content of each module aligned with the Core Competencies for Behavioral Health Providers Working in Primary Care and the IBH Best Practice Guidelines, which was presented throughout the day by national experts in behavioral health, practice transformation and integrated care. At the conclusion of the training, participants received an Integrated Behavioral Health Certificate of Completion and walked away with a plethora of knowledge to help them deliver integrated care.

“This day has been amazing,” said one attendee. “I’ve never seen so many behavioral health providers in one space and had no idea they would be so interested in this training.”

The path for care teams that want to integrate behavioral and physical health in primary care settings can be long and windy with many challenges. Those who have traveled this road understand that integration is sometimes easier said than done yet, providers throughout the state continue to invest in integration because they know the result is a cost-effective, better model of care for their patients, and a more rewarding experience for their care teams.

For a primary care practices to successfully integrate care, physical health and behavioral health providers must work as a team to optimize workflows and seamlessly use each other’s expertise. The road to integrating care varies by practice, and different types of health care providers require different tools and training to excel in integrated care settings.

Based on this need and the success of the training event, the SIM office and OBH will plan at least one more training event before the SIM initiative ends in July 2019. Sign-up for the SIM newsletter to hear more about the next symposium as well as other SIM-funded educational events and check the SIM website for more information about the initiative.

Read more about “What you need to succeed in integrated settings.”