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Mental and behavioral health

Engaging policymakers on integrated care

APA emphasizes the importance of integrated care by facilitating discussions between psychologists and policymakers.
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American Psychological Association. (2021, July 13). Engaging policymakers on integrated care.

Engaging policymakers on integrated care

Psychologists work in integrated care settings across the country, improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients’ mental and behavioral health disorders and providing behavioral health services to enhance treatment of physical health conditions and chronic illnesses. Primary care practices are a key part of the mental health and substance use disorder services delivery system, and account for as much as half of all care for common mental disorders. Multiple models of integrated care have demonstrated effectiveness in improving patient outcomes (PDF, 135KB).

The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in 2016, authorized incentive grants to states in collaboration with community programs and health centers to promote full integration and collaboration in clinical practices between primary and behavioral health care, and support the improvement of integrated care models. However, the bill’s authorization expires at the end of fiscal year 2022. Members of Congress are beginning to consider proposals to continue to expand access to integrated care services and improve their effectiveness.

APA’s Advocacy team is facilitating discussions between psychologists practicing in integrated care settings and congressional staff from states across the country in order to improve policymakers’ understanding of psychologists’ role in primary care practices, and the importance of avoiding a “one size fits all” approach to integrated care models. APA’s Integrated Primary Care Advisory Group is informing the advocacy efforts.

For more information, contact Scott Barstow.