Integrating primary care services and treatment for mental health and substance use conditions not only enhances patients’ access to needed care but also improves health outcomes in a cost-effective way. Yet the barriers to integrated care are substantial, and it is even more difficult to achieve in rural and frontier communities, which are home to 1 in 7 Americans.1
This report builds on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s March 2021 Behavioral Health Integration Task Force report, which looked broadly at ways to achieve behavioral health and primary care integration across the United States.2 Primary care providers already handle some of the behavioral health care needs of their patients, but they describe feeling overwhelmed, ill-equipped to handle these tasks, and underpaid. To incentivize and enable primary care providers to take on a greater role in delivering mental health and substance use treatment services, they will need training, technical assistance, adequate reimbursement, and access to a larger pool of behavioral health providers for both consultations and referrals.
Read full report, here.