Where is Behavioral Health Integration Occurring? Using NPI Data to Map National Trends

This project is is supported by University of Michigan Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center and is being completed in collaboration with the University of North Carolina. 

Investigators: Lisa de Saxe Zerden, PhD, MSW; Erica Richman, PhD, MSW; Brianna Lombardi, MSW; Randy Randolph, MRP

Background: Integrated behavioral health care has resulted in improved patient-level outcomes and has increased screening and treatment of behavioral health disorders within primary care settings. Despite evidence indicating that behavioral health providers are increasingly likely to be working in integrated primary care settings as part of the interprofessional teams, current national estimates of the percentage of co-located providers is unknown.

Specific Aims: To understand the rate of co-location of primary care and behavioral health providers working in integrated primary care settings we will use the CMS National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) downloadable file, a national and publicly available data source, and conduct geospatial analyses to report the rate of physical co-location between primary care providers and social workers/psychologists.

Our research questions are

  1. What percent of primary care providers are physically co-located with Social Workers/Psychologists in the United States?
  2. Does rate of co-location vary by state, region, or rurality?
  3. Does rate of co-location vary by provider type or by ability to prescribe?

Alignment with BHW and SAMHSA priorities: Integrated primary care is posited to increase service utilization of behavioral health services, as integrating care reduces many barriers including stigma, access, and accessibility. However, integrated health care delivery models may be less prominent in rural and underserved areas and more likely to occur near academic health centers indicating unequal access to this model of care. The outcomes of this study can inform HRSA and SAMHSA efforts and support budget requests to meet their respective missions “to improve health and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative programs” and “to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.”


Related HWRC projects: 

Toward a Better Understanding of Social Workers on Integrated Care Delivery Teams (part 1) (2015-16)

Toward a Better Understanding of Social Workers on Integrated Care Delivery Teams (part 2) (2016-17)


Project Products: 


Research Briefs
Presentations, webinars, and refereed conference papers and posters