CU researchers offer framework to integrate behavioral health and primary care [News release]
AURORA, Colo. (March 4, 2016) – – Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, along with experts from across the country, have developed a set of policy recommendations that would improve the quality of behavioral health care patients receive in clinical settings.
The Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released recommendations in a report, “Creating a Culture of Whole Health,” that offers practical improvements that would eliminate the artificial separation of “mental health” from “physical health.” The report provides recommendations that call for creating a new approach to health care.
“The health care system differentiates physical and behavioral health care, patients don’t,” said Benjamin Miller, PsyD, director of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center and assistant professor of family medicine at the CU School of Medicine. “They seek care in a single setting with providers they trust in clinics that are convenient for them to visit. There should be no ‘wrong door’ preventing patients from accessing appropriate care.”
To improve the quality of care, Miller and the project team make several recommendations. Among them:
- policymakers and payers should establish payment methodologies that support team, not individual, providers;
- policymakers and payers should invest in a national technical assistance center focused on how to improve care by revising federal, state and local policy and regulatory barriers;
- providers should engage communities in service to advancing needs for behavioral health and assure consistency across care delivery;
- providers should share information on how to operationalize successful strategies, such as telehealth; and
- businesses and philanthropies could create resources and technical assistance strategies that improve access to data for patients and other providers.
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