Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Dr. Anita Boykins

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Dr. Carolyn Coleman

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Dr. Abby McNeil

Committee Member 3 Department



When individuals with mental disorders present to the primary care setting for physical health problems, mental health concerns are sometimes overlooked; thereby, affecting access to behavioral health care. Integrating behavioral care in primary care settings is a potential solution to providing quality, accessible, and cost-effective care to individuals with mental disorders. The purpose of this project was to: a) assess current level of integration/collaboration in a primary care setting by administering an assessment tool to providers and staff and b) implement strategies with providers and staff input to integrate behavioral health care in a primary care setting. To determine the level of integration/collaboration, 14 providers and staff completed the assessment tool. The results of the integration/collaboration assessment tool revealed that the primary care clinic was operating at basic collaboration at a distance. Practice management strategies enhanced the level of communication and increased the level of integration to basic collaboration onsite. Strategies implemented to improve access to behavioral health care were developing a referral form, implementing warm handoffs, developing a network of behavioral health referrals, and expanding collaboration with a behavioral health clinic. Findings from the project determined that the assessment tool was effective in improving practice management strategies to integrate behavioral health in a primary care setting.