The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that more than 70% of visits to PCPs are related to psychosocial issues. And despite approximately 25% of adults experiencing a mental illness in a given year, more than half of them do not receive proper treatment.
This significant gap has given way to strong care coordination efforts between the physical and behavioral health communities. Initiatives such as the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM), beginning in January 2017, have created reimbursement codes for care coordination with behavioral health professionals.
The results have been encouraging, with PCP clinics that begin to collaborate and offer behavioral health services to patients experiencing a cost savings of $3,400 per patient in every category—behavioral health, medical and pharmacy—according to a study published in The American Journal of Managed Care.
But while the resources to facilitate care coordination between physicians and behavioral health professionals are available, there’s still uncertainty on the part of PCPs of how to foster these relationships.
Develop a Mini-Pilot List of Patients
Before diving straight into discovering and fostering relationships with behavioral health professionals, it’s important for PCPs to be curious about the needs of their patients.
Are there any patients that have been diagnosed with a physical health condition in addition to a mental health concern like depression?
If so, these patients may benefit the most from integrated care between physical and behavioral health providers. Developing a list of 10 or so patients who meet these criteria to start will allow a practice to create a mini-pilot group and craft a program based on the needs of those patients.