Cover: An Examination of New York State's Integrated Primary and Mental Health Care Services for Adults with Serious Mental Illness

An Examination of New York State's Integrated Primary and Mental Health Care Services for Adults with Serious Mental Illness

Published Sep 18, 2014

by Deborah M. Scharf, Joshua Breslau, Nicole Schmidt Hackbarth, Daniela Kusuke, B. Lynette Staplefoote, Harold Alan Pincus

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The poor physical health of adults with serious mental illnesses is a public health crisis. Greater integration of mental health and primary medical care services at the clinic and system levels could address this need. In New York state, there are several ongoing initiatives that promote integrated care for adults with serious mental illness, provided or coordinated by community mental health center staff. This report examines three initiatives.

Data were collected by RAND through site visits and surveys of mental health clinic administrators and associated professionals. Results showed that Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration grantees developed infrastructure that supported a broad scope of primary and preventive health care services; these broad changes appeared to contribute to clinicwide culture shifts toward integration and shared accountability for consumers' "whole person" health. Clinics participating in the Medicaid Incentive tended to implement only those services for which they could bill, which resulted in newly identified consumer physical health care needs but did not help consumers to connect to physical health care services. Finally, while administrators and providers were optimistic that Medicaid Health Homes have potential to improve access to care for adults with serious mental illness, the newness of the initiative made it difficult to assess the degree to which Health Home networks would meet these goals. We conclude with recommendations to state policymakers, clinical providers, and technical assistance providers and recommendations for future research, all designed to strengthen New York state's integrated care initiatives for adults with serious mental illness.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the New York state Health Foundation and conducted in RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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