CHA Behavioral Health Home

Helping People with Serious Mental Illness

CHA is committed to improving the care of people with serious mental illness (SMI). These individuals are often poorly served by traditional care models with fragmented services from separate mental health, medical, and social support providers. This fragmentation, along with missed opportunities to promote healthy behaviors, contribute to dramatically worse health outcomes for people living with SMI.

To better serve them, CHA has launched a “Behavioral Health Home” to integrate medical services and care management with mental health care to offer more comprehensive, team-based care in an outpatient mental health clinic. The core idea is that mental health clinics may be a more comfortable and effective “medical home” for people with SMI than traditional primary care practices. Federal, state, and local health agencies are promoting this innovative model as an effective option for community-based treatment of SMI – offering hope for individuals and families who have historically received inadequate care.

Location and Services

CHA calls its Behavioral Health Home the “Health Integration Program” (HIP). The program is located within CHA Outpatient Psychiatry, at Central Street Health Center in Somerville, MA. HIP offers recovery-oriented care to adults with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, aiming to improve their complete health – mental, physical, and social – by providing:

  • State-of-the-art psychiatric and therapeutic services
  • On-site integrated medical care
  • Evidence-based groups for First Episode Psychosis, Recovery in Shared Experiences (RISE)
  • Health promotion activities, such as wellness groups, interventions to reduce smoking, nutrition workshops, and exclusive yoga classes
  • Close coordination with all providers across the continuum of care (special focus on coordinating with individuals’ primary care teams)
  • Routine screenings to identify or prevent medical conditions
  • Frequent coordination with Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS) teams and other key service providers outside CHA
  • Advanced use of health information technology to proactively identify gaps in care
  • Community-building social events and group activities

HIP launched in fall 2015 and is continuously working to achieve new levels of care integration to more completely address our patients’ needs. CHA is evaluating outcomes of the Behavioral Health Home program in partnership with the Health Equity Research Lab. Promising results from the program's first year were published in Psychiatric Services in Advance in August 2017 (see the abstract here). We look forward to learning more about the impacts integrated care can have on the health and recovery of CHA patients living with a psychotic disorder, and how CHA can extend this service going forward to reach more people who need it.

The CHA Behavioral Health Home was made possible through the MassHealth Delivery System Transformation Initiatives – part of Massachusetts’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver. HIP has also appreciated ongoing support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Cambridge/Middlesex) and Cambridge Community Foundation to offer important health promotion and community-building activities.

    Find Us

  • CHA Central Street Care Center

    26 Central Street Somerville, MA 02143 Get Directions
    P: 617-665-3220 F: 617-591-6452

    Contact Us

  • Miriam Tepper, MD

    Medical Director, Health Integration Program P: 617-591-6156 Email
  • Natalie Garcia

    Care Partner P: 617-591-6097 Email