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As communities across the nation work to integrate the delivery of physical and behavioral health care, providers and policymakers need to understand the implementation of these system change efforts to inform their replication. There is a particular need for evaluations that incorporate the perspective of front-line staff and consumers. This presentation described the evaluation of an initiative in two rural counties that sought to embed nurses and train staff in behavioral health agencies to address physical health concerns. Two rounds of interviews and focus groups with health plan and agency leadership, nurses, case managers, peer specialists, and consumers identified several challenges including initial role confusion, discomfort among consumers in discussing their physical health concerns with behavioral health staff, and lower than expected uptake of a web-based self-monitoring tool for consumers. The findings underscore the value of qualitative methods for gathering information from front-line staff and consumers to provide formative feedback.

Presentation: 48 minutes


Angela Gerolamo, Ph.D., APRN, BC, an Associate Professor of Nursing at Thomas Jefferson University, teaches mental health nursing in the undergraduate baccalaureate and accelerated second degree programs. She also teaches graduate level research methods and design. Dr. Gerolamo is a board certified advanced practice nurse with 17 years of health care industry experience including direct clinical care, quality management, and staff development. Prior to joining the Thomas Jefferson University, she was a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research where she specialized in designing and implementing evaluations of mental health services delivery, mental health policy, and nursing workforce issues. Dr. Gerolamo currently serves as a clinical consultant to La Comunidad Hispana, a federally qualified healthcare center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. In this role, she provides guidance on the medication management of individuals with mental health and medical comorbidities and assists with the design and implementation of an integrated care model.