Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services for People with Serious Mental Illness

A Qualitative Systems Analysis of Integration in New York

Published in: Community Mental Health Journal [Epub February 2018]. doi: 10.1007/s10597-018-0251-y

Posted on RAND.org on March 22, 2018

by Parashar Pravin Ramanuj, Rachel Talley, Joshua Breslau, Scarlett Sijia Wang, Harold Alan Pincus

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People with co-occurring behavioral and physical conditions receive poorer care through traditional health care services. One solution has been to integrate behavioral and physical care services. This study assesses efforts to integrate behavioral health and primary care services in New York. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 52 professionals in either group or individual settings. We aimed to identify factors which facilitate or hinder integration for people with serious mental illness and how these factors inter-relate. Content analysis identified structural, process, organizational ("internal") and contextual ("external") themes that were relevant to integration of care. Network analysis delineated the interactions between these. We show that effective integration does not advance along a single continuum from minimally to fully integrated care but along several, parallel pathways reliant upon consequential factors that aid or hinder one another.

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