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January 29, 2019

Integrating Clinical and Mental Health: Challenges and Opportunities

Type: News Tags: Opioid Use Disorder, Opioid, Clinical, Mental Health, Levels Of Integration

A new report released January 24th by the Bipartisan Policy Center examines the major barriers to integrating clinical health care and mental health services in the United States, including insurance coverage and payment disparities, workforce shortages, and administrative challenges. The report, Integrating Clinical and Mental Health: Challenges and Opportunities, also identifies federal and state policy options that could help remove these barriers and advance evidence-based treatment for mental health care.

In 2016 alone, nearly 45 million Americans age 18 and older were affected by some form of mental illness, more than 20 million endured a substance use disorder, and 8.2 million experienced both. Research shows that integrating mental health and primary care services improves access to care and treatment outcomes, lowers rates of mortality, and provides cost savings.

However, there have been significant inequalities in the treatment and insurance coverage of mental health compared to physical health in America, creating a fragmented system of care.