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.
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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.
Vikram Patel, PhD, a leading expert in global mental health, gives a global perspective on integrated mental health care. Looking at integrated mental health practices around the world, Dr. Patel discusses ways to reduce the treatment gap for mental health conditions in the United States.
In the rural town of Yakima, WA, there will only be one private-practice psychiatrist by mid-July due to recent retirements. This article describes the solutions that can address the lack of psychiatrists. One solution is telepsychiatry. Telepsychiatry removes the access barrier to mental health care in rural areas and helps more people get the mental health care they need. The article also discusses Collaborative Care as another viable solution to the shortage of psychiatrists in Yakima.
Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD discusses the reasons why it is valuable for psychiatrists, new and old, to learn about Collaborative Care. She names the most compelling reason for psychiatrists to learn about this model of care as the professional commitment to patients because Collaborative Care is a patient-centered, population-based approach that can reach a large number of people.
According to a panel of experts convened by The American Journal of Managed Care, including Wayne Katon, the Affordable Care Act has significantly increased attention to team-based approaches to mental health care and the costs associated with comorbid mental illness and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.