Integrated Care Services 101 – The Behavioral Health Model is Changing

Dec 13, 2019 | Mental Health, News

Believe it or not, people with chronic physical pain and mental health conditions account for 86% of the $2.7 trillion of the healthcare expenditures in the U.S. each year. Patients with multiple chronic conditions cost up to seven times more than those with one.

In addition, according to SAMHSA, people with mental and substance abuse disorders may die decades earlier than the average person — mostly from untreated and preventable chronic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease that are aggravated by poor health habits such as inadequate physical activity, poor nutrition, smoking, and substance abuse. Barriers to primary care — coupled with challenges in navigating complex healthcare systems — have been a significant obstacle.

With this in mind, there’s a movement afoot to work on two initiatives simultaneously – improve health outcomes of the underserved and reduce costs through integrated care.

Here is an excerpt from our interview with Megan Bush, Coleman’s Chief Officer in Summit County, that explains what integrated care is and why it’s essential for behavioral health organizations to continue on this trajectory.

Learning More About Integrated Care Services

What are Integrated Care Services?

It’s a model of service provision built on the concept of holistic health or recognizing the connection between mind, body, and spirit and delivering service solutions based on it. The Integrated Care model blends multiple disciplines into one treatment center so that an individual can get all their care in one setting, which leads to increased efficiency, improved patient satisfaction, and better health outcomes.

Whom do they serve?

Currently, Coleman’s Integrated Care serves patients in the Primary Care and Emergency Department settings in Summit County. However, Megan sees these services expanding to schools and nursing homes soon.

Why have integrated care?

Providing this service helps patients and their providers. It’s a team-based approach where mental health care and general medical care are in the same setting. The goal is to treat the cause of each patient’s ailment rather than the symptoms.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), This is an essential model of care because:

  • Doctor’s offices provide roughly 50% of all mental health care for common psychiatric disorders
  • Adults with mental illnesses and substance use disorders also have higher rates of chronic physical diseases and die earlier than the general population

People with common physical health conditions have higher rates of mental health issues.

Here are two examples:

A patient complains of the inability to sleep. Their primary care physician may wish to prescribe a sleep aid and suggest dietary changes. However, upon further questioning with a mental health provider, they learn their patient has recently lost his son to an opioid overdose. Turning this corner allows them to alter their overall recommendations.

A type II diabetes patient complains of neuropathy that wakes him up at night. As a person with alcohol use disorder who is no longer using, he has turned to sweets to satisfy his craving for alcohol. Upon further questioning, the team learns he is the primary caregiver for his wife, who has advanced Parkinson’s disease. He’s stressed and depressed about her condition and finds comfort in sweets.

You can see from these two examples often, further investigation and questioning are required to get to the bottom of a patient’s ailments.

Is this a new service for Coleman Professional Services?

No. Coleman has been providing integrated care for nearly a decade. We are actively seeking participating primary care providers in Summit County. The healthcare industry has widely adopted this practice about two years ago.

How are patients identified for this service?

At Coleman, this is not a referral service. We see patients that are going to their primary care doctors’ office.


Coleman Professional Services is Committed to Integrated Care Services

Please contact us for more information about this valuable patient service.