Behavioral Health Lab (BHL)
The mission of the Philadelphia Behavioral Health Lab is to work collaboratively with primary care providers to help manage the behavioral health needs of Veterans seen in primary care and to provide decision support including triage to specialty mental health/substance misuse services.
The Behavioral Health Laboratory (BHL) was established at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in 2003 in order to improve the engagement of primary care (PC) providers and their patients in evidence-based mental health care on a population level. The BHL employs an interdisciplinary team-based model of care consisting of psychology technicians, clinicians (nurses, social workers, psychologists), and a supervising psychiatrist who work collaboratively within the primary care teams. The team-based model allows for greater efficiency and results in services being readily available to the large and diverse population of Veterans in the Philadelphia region. Since its inception, the Philadelphia BHL has improved outcomes for depression, anxiety, and alcohol misuse in the primary care setting, reduced wait times for mental health and substance abuse specialty care programs, and increased engagement rates in specialty care. The BHL is founded in the now substantial evidence base that measurement based care improves depression outcomes in a primary care population. Please see publications about the BHL for reference. Providers can also access resources about integrated primary care approaches in VA including the BHL .
To effectively provide this model of care, the BHL: