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Atul Grover, MD, PhD, Joins Bipartisan Policy Center Panel on Integrated Behavioral Health Workforce

Jan. 23, 2024

Atul Grover, MD, PhD, executive director of the AAMC Research and Action Institute, joined a panel of integrated behavioral health experts hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in partnership with The Commonwealth Fund. The virtual panel, entitled “Teaming Up: Policies to Support the Integrated Care Workforce,” discussed federal policy solutions to train, support, and finance the workforce needed to deliver integrated primary care and behavioral health services.  

The AAMC Research and Action Institute has previously noted the need to integrate and coordinate primary care and mental health care as one way to address barriers to mental health care. The panel discussion additionally underscored key policy recommendations from the BPC’s newest report: Strengthening the Integrated Care Workforce. 

Grover participated alongside featured panelists Brian Baucom, PhD, co-director, Behavioral Health Innovation and Dissemination Center, University of Utah, Andy Keller, PhD, president and CEO, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, and Melissa Merrick, executive vice president, Primary Care Services, Southcentral Foundation, with moderation by Laura Lovett, MA, editor, Behavioral Health Business, Aging Media Network.   

“Even if Medicaid is making a payment, not all payments are created equal.”

Atul Grover, MD, PhD

Grover noted that federal funding is a crucial factor in policy implementation to support the integrated behavioral health care workforce. He emphasized the importance of increasing state Medicaid reimbursements for behavioral health providers, who receive disproportionately lower reimbursements for their services from Medicaid compared to what they receive from private insurers. Grover also stressed the need for greater data from private insurers, including through federally required independent auditing, to ensure accountability and network adequacy across mental health care services.  

Grover further highlighted analysis from the institute’s latest data snapshot, which suggests opportunities to utilize the increasing supply of nondoctoral level providers within integrated care teams, such as training marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, physician associates, and nurse practitioners to provide appropriate behavioral health care.