Integrating behavioral health services within the primary care setting drives higher levels of collaborative care, and is proving to be an essential part of the solution for our struggling American healthcare system. However, justification for implementing and sustaining integrated and collaborative care has shown to be a formidable task. In an attempt to move beyond conflicting terminology found in the literature, we delineate terms and suggest a standardized nomenclature. Further, we maintain that addressing the three principal worlds of healthcare (clinical, operational, financial) is requisite in making sense of the spectrum of available implementations and ultimately transitioning collaborative care into the mainstream. Using a model that deconstructs process metrics into factors/barriers and generalizes behavioral health provider roles into major categories provides a framework to empirically discriminate between implementations across specific settings. This approach offers practical guidelines for care sites implementing integrated and collaborative care and defines a research framework to produce the evidence required for the aforementioned clinical, operational and financial worlds of this important movement.