Together at last? Mental health services in primary care settings could improve care outcomes
- Partnerships between mental health facilities and primary care providers are working to improve patient health outcomes. Several states are involved in these programs: California, New York, Florida, and Washington.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded $150 million in grants since 2009 to integrate medical services into mental health clinics. Close to 190 organizations have received one of these grants.
- RAND Corporation found patients had better diabetes and hypertension control when they received primary care at a mental health facility, but those with obesity or who smoked showed no improvement.
Individuals with mental health issues often have difficulty getting to a physician, Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO for the National Council for Behavioral Health, told The Atlantic. "The best place to get their physical healthcare is the place where they are getting psychiatric care," Rosenberg added.
The Los Angeles County's San Fernando Mental Health Center partnered with Tarzana Treatment Centers via a $400,000 federal grant and has seen 180 patients since September. Many patients with chronic illnesses, like cancer and diabetes, also have serious depression. Lisa Wong, a district chief with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, said the new partnership is providing care to patients with untreated chronic diseases.
SAMHSA's 2015 National Behavioral Health Barometer report showed 4.1% of adults age 18 and older, an estimated 9.8 million, had a serious mental issues in 2014 and this percentage has not changed significantly since 2010. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates serious mental issues costs the U.S. $193.2 billion in lost earnings annually.
- The Atlantic Getting Primary Care at the Psychiatrist's Office