In 2011, LPHI designated the $7.3 million NOCHF to improve behavioral health integration (BHI) in the Greater New Orleans (GNO) area through a 36-month project. NOCHF aimed to increase access to care, improve population health, and create sustainable systems change.
This article analyzed the implementation of BHI in the six NOCHF organizations using a combination of in-depth interviews of clinic staff and the Levels of Integration Measure (LIM), a tool that assesses perceptions of BHI in a primary care setting. Findings highlighted the roles of strong leadership, training, and process changes on staff collaboration, relationships, and commitment to BHI. Although not intended for research, the NOCHF program and evaluation provided a unique opportunity to learn about the process of implementing BHI in a real-world setting, in a city with an extensive vulnerable population. By highlighting contextual factors and staff perceptions, this article has important lessons learned and recommendations for organizations interested in implementing BHI and can stimulate further research and policy changes.