A new article by Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD used stakeholder input to develop practical approaches to integrating behavioral health care in to primary care settings. Two resources were created for achieving integrated care: 1) The Behavioral Health Integration Implementation Guide, which includes practical guidance on both the implementation process and sustanability, and 2) the GROW Pathway Planning Tool, which helps an organization develop a path toward integration.
In the News
Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH, Evette Ludman, PhD, and Ryan Caldeiro, MD, summarize the research that is informing new care models for alcohol use disorders. Repeated medical interventions have shown to be effective, however primary care providers can also play an important role in the recovery of patients with Alcohol Use Disorder. This includes helping the patient choose an appropriate treatment option and providing support throughout their recovery.
Mark Sullivan, MD, PhD discusses the need for including psychiatric care in the treatment of chronic pain. This column focuses on the increase in opioid therapy to treat chronic pain, which can result in opiod misuse or abuse in patients with psychiatric disorders. Additionally, studies have suggested that chronic pain and common mental disorders are intimately linked. Through this evidence, Dr. Sullivan calls for an integration of psychiatrists into the primary care team to better adress both the mental and physical needs of chronic care patients.
A new study published in Psychiatric Services highlights the importance of early follow up in depression care. The study found that patients who received a follow up contact four weeks after their initial assessment had shorter times to improvement than those who did not.
Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, MA discusses some promising approaches for improving the reach and effectiveness of integrated behavioral health care. Dr. Unützer's column focuses on two approaches: 1) the systematic involvement of family members, peers, community health workers, and community-based organizations in care, and 2) the use of technology in care.
John Fortney, PhD discusses how telepsychiatry can increase access to effective mental health care if applied with a population-health perspective in mind. There is an increase in the use of telemedicine across the globe in an effort to improve access to high-quality health care. Telepsychiatry addresses two primary challenges in our current mental health care delivery system: lack of capacity and the inequitable geographic distribution of psychiatrists.
The AIMS Center recently published recommendations for fee-for-service payments for psychiatric consultant and care manager functions. These comments were published in response to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) invitation for comments on proposed rules to cover the Collaborative Care model for Medicare beneficiaries with common behavioral health conditions.
Every Collaborative Care implementation has its challenges and frustrations but ensuring that there is good communication and a positive atttude within the team is important to its success. Glenda Wrenn, MD, MSHP discusses the importance of being engaged at multiple levels and sustaining the momentum of the program despite facing common challenges.
Lydia Chwastiak, MD, MPH and Benjamin Druss, MD, MPH outline oppotunities for psychiatrists to use the core principles of Collaborative Care to improve the lives of patients living with severe mental illness. Using a population-based approach to managing medical problems is just one of the principles that Drs. Chwastiak and Druss highlight to ensure that patients with comorbid conditions receive adequate and timely follow-up care.
John Fortney, PhD is leading the largest clinical trial involving rural Americans with a psychiatric disorder. It will examine how best to treat complex mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, in primary care clinics. The study will compare two models of delivering mental health care to patients living in rural areas and plans to enroll 1,000 patients throughout 15 federally qualified health centers in three states.