Behavioral Health Care Manager (BHCM)

The Behavioral Health Care Manager (BHCM) is at the heart of a strong Collaborative Care team, facilitating communication among all team members and acting as the lead contact person for the patient. Effective BHCMs support the PCP in their role by coordinating the overall treatment plan, providing brief psychotherapy proven to work in primary care, supporting medication management, alerting the PCP when the patient is not improving, and communicating with the psychiatric consultant regarding treatment changes.

Clinician at computer doing an intake with a patient.

The Behavioral Health Care Manager (BHCM) coordinates the group and ensures effective communication among team members. BHCMs are typically nurses, psychologists, social workers or licensed counselors; however, the ability to perform, assign, and plan out the tasks that need to be completed is much more important than credentials one holds. A BHCM is not the same as a case manager or a behavioral health consultant. For more information on the differences between collaborative care and the behavioral health consultant model see our Which Flavor of Integrated Care? resource.

Behavioral Health Care Manger Trainings

Online Collaborative Care Training for BHCMs

Self-directed, 9-hour online training program that includes didactic presentations, quizzes, sample patient cases, and interactive activities. Created by AIMS Center experts and highly recommended for new BHCMs. 

Behavioral Intervention Skills Training

A vital aspect of treatment within the Collaborative Care model is offering behavioral interventions designed for primary care or other medical settings. We offer tailored training in Behavioral Activation and Problem-Solving Treatment to meet this need.

Job Description

Behavioral Health Care Manager Job Description

Effective BHCMs support the PCP in their role by:

  • participating in diagnosis and treatment planning
  • coordinating treatment
  • providing proactive follow-up of treatment response
  • alerting the PCP when the patient is not improving
  • supporting medication management
  • facilitating communication with the psychiatric consultant regarding treatment changes
  • offer brief counseling (using evidence-based techniques such as motivational interviewing, behavioral activation, and problem-solving treatment

Some BHCM duties and responsibilities can be assigned to other members of the care team. However, BHCMs on a collaborative care team need to build a unique set of clinical skills specific to practicing in primary care and other healthcare settings.

FTE Guidelines

We recommend, as much as feasible, hiring BHCMs as full-time or nearly full-time staff. BHCMs who are assigned numerous other duties in a fast-paced clinic setting often fall behind on effectively managing their CoCM caseload. It may mean that the BHCM position must cover two or more smaller clinics to justify the FTE. 

Caseload Guidelines

We recommend, as much as feasible, hiring BHCMs as full-time or nearly full-time staff. BHCMs who are assigned numerous other duties in a fast-paced clinic setting often fall behind on effectively managing their CoCM caseload. It may mean that the BHCM position must cover two or more smaller clinics to justify the FTE. 

I have seen patients experience improvement in their symptoms with the combined support of their primary care doctor, psychiatric consultant, and care manager and patients regularly tell me that they appreciate being seen as a whole person, where all aspects of their health are addressed in one place.

– Monica Miller, behavioral health care manager