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Benefits of Integrated Care

Integrated behavioral health care combines care for medical conditions with care for related behavioral health factors that affect health and well-being. Increasingly, primary care facilities are integrating a behavioral health specialist into primary care as a way to provide high-quality “whole-person care,” and to benefit patients, physicians, and the medical community.

In a 2016 survey of physicians regarding their opinions on integrating a behavioral health specialist into a medical care practice or facility, 94% said integrated care directly improves patient care.

Benefits of Integrated Care for Patients

  • Patients have continuity of care, with a Behavioral Health Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner in their primary care office that is familiar with their medical and behavioral problems.
  • Patients can return for treatment at any time, which has shown to increase patient satisfaction and improve access.
  • Patients can see a Behavioral Health Provider who can prescribe medication as needed.

Benefits of Integrated Care for Physicians

  • Stress reduction for primary care providers as PAs absorbs problematic patients who monopolize PCP clinical time (i.e., borderlines, somatizers, and anxious patients).
  • PAs can assists PCP with plan development and be available for “hallway handoffs.”
  • PA values a physician-guided team approach philosophy.
  • PA can aid the PCP in screening patients for behavioral and social problems.

Benefits of Integrated Care for the Medical Community

  • Follows emerging PCMH (Patient-Centered Medical Home) and ACO (Accountable Care Organization) models.
  • Improves communication between behavioral and primary providers.
  • Utilizes evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions to improve somatic symptoms, which results in fewer unnecessary consults with overburdened specialists.

Learn how to treat the whole patient with integrated behavioral care.