behavioral health primary care integration

The Behavioral Health and Primary Care Marriage

We have ascertained in previous posts the value of the integrated behavioral health and primary care partnership. With shrinking healthcare funding and the unmet healthcare needs of people who have serious behavioral health disorders, there are numerous benefits of collaborative care. The blending of resources, expertise, and passion combine to create a synergy that is not possible with one organization alone.

Healthcare Integration Timeline

  • In 430 BC Hippocrates declared:
    “The Body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts” 
  • Literature by Dr. Benjamin Maltzberg dating back more than 75 years on studies at the New York State Hospital in Utica has reported “excess mortality due to medical causes in persons with mental disorders”
  • 1999 Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health
    ◊ First major emphasis on integrated care
    ◊ Dr. David Satcher declared:
       “There is no Health without Mental Health”
  • 2006 NASMHPD Report, Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness:
    ◊ People with serious mental illness are dying 25 years earlier than the general population
    ◊ 60% of premature deaths are due to modifiable and preventable medical conditions

The Primary and Behavioral Healthcare Partnership

  • Allow for individual choice in determining the healthcare home
  • Ideal for treatment of the whole person
  • Address the health disparities of people who live with serious behavioral health conditions
  • Bi-directional integration allows for individual choice in determining the healthcare home
  • More efficient and effective use of healthcare dollars
  • CNN Report: Companies merge for a variety of reasons
    ◊ Expansion of market share
    ◊ Acquisition of new lines of distribution or technology
    ◊ Reduction of operating costs
    ◊ Corporate mergers fail (up to 80%!) for some of the same reasons that marriages do –
       A clash of personalities and priorities

Four Key Components of a Successful Behavioral Health and Primary Care Marriage

Like all marriages, the behavioral health and primary care marriage requires nurturing. There are four key components that occur at integral stages within the relationship that must be addressed for successful outcomes, aka living happily ever after.

    > DATING: Partner Selection
        • Mutual attraction
        • Determining potential
        • Wooing and courting
        • Proposal

    > The WEDDING: Formalizing the Partnership
    • Merging of goals
    • Co-location
    • Finances

    > Early Phase: The HONEYMOON
    • Identify a common language
        • Sharing decision-making
        • Synergy
    > Problems within the Partnership (AKA The HONEYMOON is OVER!)
        • Addressing internal conflicts
        • The use of candor
        • Temper expectations
  3. COMPROMISE: Making it Work
       • Developing shared solutions
       • Delegate trust
       • Create empowerment
       • Determine expectations
    >The MATURE PARTNERSHIP: Growing Old Together
       • Enhanced outcomes through blending of resources
       • The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
       • Accountability

In the next post we will explore the early phase in the relationship, the  first key component, Vision.


4 thoughts on “The Behavioral Health and Primary Care Marriage

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