This post is by the 2016 CFHA Conference Co-Chairs.
Come See for Yourself!
A psychiatrist, a primary care doc, and a therapist walk
into a bar…So, you think I am joking, right? Actually, this type of meet-up is
not uncommon at CFHAs annual conference. Come to Charlotte, NC in October and
see for yourself!
One thing was clear during the initial planning meeting for
this year’s CFHA conference – we wanted the theme to be inclusive. It needed to
welcome all types of providers, practices, policy makers, and others who are
working together to make integrated care (IC) a standard of care. We may come
from different states, backgrounds, perspectives, and job roles, but we are
united and working toward the same goals. I can think of no other organization
like it for this reason.
There are always sessions that challenge the way I think about
some aspect of IC (over 80 to choose from!). Every year I walk away with new
tools and implementation strategies that put a new spin on the foundations
built by many of our CFHA members. This year you will have the opportunity to dive
deep into the IC models or learn more about how to negotiate health information
technology during the precons. You can choose from 2 Master Lectures: The Intersection
Between Physical and Mental Health Disorders in Older Adults or the Ethical
Challenges of Working with Diverse Couples in Primary Care.
We are also excited
to offer timely plenaries on the healthcare needs of LGBTQ and Ally community,
community-based solutions to the opioid epidemic, and provider strategies to
reduce suicides. All of these special events punctuate 6 specialized tracks to
choose from – topics that span from finance and cost control, training and
research, patient and family-centered approaches, team-based clinical skills
and innovations, workforce and inter-professional education, and population and
If all of that is enough, you also have the opportunity to
swap lessons learned and best practices with experts from across the nation —
the “rock stars” who share their expertise via publications, the listserv,
monthly webinars, and the special interest group teleconferences throughout the
year. Where else can you meet the people who authored your favorite IC books,
articles, and videos? These experts do not just present; they sit beside you
during the sessions and plenaries because they are there to learn about the
newest advances and successes from their peers and emerging IC talent.
To offer a broader view of the IC work in NC, we will have
the first CFHA state showcase. Working in North Carolina has opened my mind to
the creativity and effort that it takes to customize models that the IC
pioneers and early adopters developed, researched, and refined over the last 3
decades. NC has had a long history of public and philanthropic funding devoted
to developing IC in NC.
We will have the first CFHA state showcase
Charitable organizations, such as the Kate B. Reynolds
Charitable Trust, the Cone Health Foundation, and the Duke Endowment, continue
to support providers and organizations who are determined to keep their
patients from falling through the cracks of a fractured system. I encourage you
to stop by the NC Showcase to meet representatives of some of these projects
You will also meet members and staff of our NC Integrated
Care Steering Committee, State Departments, and countless IC task forces and
workgroups. They will gladly share first-hand stories about the energy and
movement going on behind the scenes – a story is full of herculean effort, deep
commitment, and dogged tenacity. Many hard-won victories and lessons learned
are shared at CFHA by people across the nation – it is truly an affirming,
I wouldn’t have the job that I have today at the Center of
Excellence for Integrated Care if I had not gone to a CFHA conference several
years ago. There have been so many CFHA members who have influenced my work and
career since then — people who I am honored to call friends and colleagues;
people who I would have never met had I not discovered this organization.
I tell people that going to CFHA is better than any holiday for me (which I
really mean!), it is because I never know what magic will result each year. Now
it is my turn to give back as co-chair – and I can’t wait to see all of the
wonderful gifts that come from these 3+ exciting days of all things IC. I hope
you will join us in Charlotte to experience the magic as
we celebrate the many faces and places of Integrated Care!
|Cathy Hudgins, PhD, LMFT, is the Director of the Center of Excellence for Integrated Care under the North Carolina Foundation for Advanced Health Programs. She is an active member of the Collaborative Family Health Association and AAMFT and presents locally and nationally on Integrated Care.
Paths to Integration and CFHA
It’s always intriguing to
hear personal accounts about how people became interested in their current profession
and what drives them to continue pushing the limits within their field. Some of
us who were trained in and began our careers in more traditional behavioral
health environments had an epiphany somewhere along the way when presented with
a new and exciting team-based integrated care (IC) delivery format, and decided
to pursue this new path.
This epiphany happened for me
in the ninth year of my career as a behaviorist. My work to this point was
fulfilling and I was able to advance into exciting positions within clinical
leadership. In 2004 North Carolina made sweeping changes in the care delivery
system away from state run community treatment to a privatized system, and after
a few years, the changeable environment became very complicated for many to
While managing an outpatient behavioral
health unit I began to notice how our nursing staff focused on a broader
comprehensive profile of the patient’s health beyond the presenting issue. My
curiosity grew deeper following a few encounters where physical illness was
exacerbating the patient’s behavioral health presentation, a factor which began
to broaden my perspective of which professionals should be a critical part of
the patient’s care team. How had I missed these important variables before?
presented with a unique opportunity to bring my behavioral skills to medical
settings, while simultaneously learning more about treating the whole person in
one setting, I chose this new path. IC provided me with an exciting new area of
learning and the opportunity to meet others who were inspired by the creativity
and targeted services that integrated settings offer to patients. Shortly
afterwards the path led to learning about the esteemed CFHA while assisting
with the conference in Asheville, NC in 2007.
Integrated Care provides
enhanced service delivery for patients, while at the same time does its part to
strengthen the broader continuum of services needed to manage the range of
healthcare needs in any one community. Along this continuum of services, in
North Carolina we are beginning to see expanding interest beyond traditional IC
to bi-directional integration, the use of peer support and community health
workers to engage patients, cross-training in behavioral health clinics on
common chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and greater strides in the use data
for decision-making and collaboration with each other across town.
In North Carolina we see expanding interest beyond traditional IC to bi-directional integration
As you well know, our current
healthcare environment is in great flux as we move away from fee-for-service
models towards accountable care. Many states, including NC, are somewhere in
the middle of this transition, but one thing is clear, integration will continue
to propagate and is gaining tremendous momentum as new clinicians discover it every
day. While providing technical assistance to IC sites I often meet clinicians
who are just learning about integration and are as excited as I am to envision
the possibilities it can provide. Do you remember when this happened for you?
year’s conference theme, Celebrating the Many Faces and Places of Integration, celebrates
the shift many have made towards IC and will inevitably increase the size and
breadth of the CFHA family. CFHA veterans are in a unique position to welcome
new conference attendees by sharing CFHA’s collegial environment which is focused
on supporting best practice approaches to integrated treatment.
As Co-Chair for
our conference this year, I’m excited to hear the stories of newcomers and how their
new path of exploration is inspiring them to stretch the constructs of care
provision while ultimately contributing to our collective movement to provide
whole person care. See you when our IC paths cross in Charlotte!
|Eric Christian, MAEd, LPC, NCC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a
Nationally Certified Counselor who has been working in the field since 1998. He works as the Director
of Behavioral Health Integration for Community Care of Western North Carolina,
where he provides technical assistance and consultation to providers interested