The Children's Mental Health Network was thrilled to read an article in the LA Times that focused on the... wait for it... integrated approach to health care! Slowly but surely folks, people are beginning to pick up on the virtues of integrated care, not to mention the fact that it the future of mental health does not reside in a silo. Have we mentioned that the future is now?
The article profiles Family services, Inc., a low-income mental health clinic in Gaithersburg, MD.
- "Clinic director Amy Van Grack was treating one of her regular patients when she realized the patient was homeless, pregnant and hadn’t seen a primary care doctor in months. So Van Grack walked the patient down the hall to meet with one. In addition to therapists, counselors and psychiatrists, FSI in December added a medical clinic to its site. The idea: Individuals with behavioral health disorders are more likely to get the physical treatments they need when a doctor is readily available, affordable and near their mental health care provider."
“With the advent of health-care reform, services are going to need to be less redundant, more efficient, more patient-centered, less provider-centric,” said Mark McGovern, a psychiatry professor at Dartmouth University who has studied mental health integration.
Integration predates the Affordable Care Act, but the health-care bill did call for the creation of models (see video below) that allow patients to be managed by interdisciplinary teams of doctors. Payments will also shift from services to outcomes, so doctors will have more incentives to work together to cure a patient for good.
Trends being what they are, we will likely see more integration efforts like these in the adult population than in the child population at first, so Network faithful need to turn this article on to pediatric groups and health department officials overseeing child and family efforts. Integration works. Read the story here.