Emerging needs in behavioral health and the integrated care model
Read, Taylor Lynn
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Medically vulnerable populations are constantly at risk of having poor health related outcomes, low satisfaction in the healthcare system and increased mortality. Studies have shown the increased prevalence rates of various medical comorbidities in patients with severe mental illness. These patients are obviously vulnerable because of their mental illness but they are also more likely to have severe cases of medical conditions commonly seen in the general population. Expenditures and utilization of resources is often inappropriate due to frequent visits for acute needs and low rates of preventative care and primary care appointments. My proposed model focuses on the implementation of the integrated care model which encourages collaboration between mental health professionals and primary care physicians through referral programs or integrated clinic settings. This model is initiated with education to both current clinicians as well as future clinicians through medical schools and residency programs. Once the education component has begun, the next steps are formal exploration, preparation, implementation and evaluation of the model in clinics. The aim is to improve health outcomes by increasing preventative care and using behavioral techniques to assist with adherence, increase satisfaction in the healthcare system and contain expenditures by utilizing primary care services instead of emergency services when appropriate.