3 Reasons for Integrated Healthcare
May 6, 2016
With more research coming out painting a clearer picture between the association of mental and physical health, there is a growing body of evidence showing the strengths of integrated care. This helps to provide needed treatment to the over 35 million Americans who have a mental health condition, but are not receiving care due to stigma, affordability, and accessibility. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendation that all adults over 18 should be screened for depression only strengthens the case for integrated health.
Here are three reasons why an integrated approach makes sense:
- Reduces healthcare spend
- Improves care along the continuum
- Drives better outcomes
Reduces healthcare spend
Milliman analysis shows that a behavioral health condition increases per member healthcare spend by about tens and possibly hundreds of billions. Multiply this across a year and across a membership of 30 million and the numbers quickly point to the advantage of integrating behavioral health with physical health. The Blue Care Network medical director of behavioral health, Dr. William Beecroft, explained that a person with three chronic diseases like COPD, hypertension, and diabetes in conjunction with depression could cost about $60,000 per year. If the depression is dealt with proactively this number would be closer to $12,000, he said.
Traditionally, healthcare has operated in silos with the primary care physician being the gatekeeper to other areas of health. In particular, behavioral health has been relegated to the sidelines due to stigma and the amount of people who follow-up with their PCP’s recommendation of a behavioral health clinician pales in comparison to the amount of people truly needing the care. The eventual care leading to behavioral health treatment has been fragmented.
Drives Better Outcomes
How can a doctor possibly treat diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension without taking into consideration the behaviors of the person? Behavior is strongly associated with our overall health and wellbeing.
Section 2703 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the State Plan Amendment for “health homes that offer six core services: comprehensive care management; care coordination; health promotion; comprehensive transitional care; individual and family support; and referral to community and social support services, all linked by health information technology.” The changes in healthcare are bringing physical and behavioral health closer together.
Often times going through the healthcare system is difficult, challenging, and confusing. For someone who is dealing with a mental health condition and is relatively reluctant to seek care, this situation is only exacerbated.
Truly integrated care is when the overall health of an individual is examined and cared for removing any barriers between physical and behavioral healthcare. Partnerships are created along all aspects of health enabling better treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines integrated care as “the systematic coordination of general and behavioral health.”
A solution is to put the person in charge, engaging them in their care, and supporting them throughout the entire care continuum. Prevail’s clinically proven, interactive programs enable the individual to better understand and thus manage their own health. With a provider dashboard, it works seamlessly with clinicians providing them with robust clinical and demographic data to support better care. Depending on different assessments, an individual will be flagged and provided an opportunity to follow-up with their doctor.
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