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June 26, 1996

Psychiatry and Primary Care Forge New Bonds

Author Affiliations

JAMA contributor

JAMA. 1996;275(24):1865-1866. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530480009004

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"PRIMARY CARE physicians don't care about psychiatric problems."

"Psychiatrists don't know much about somatization."

Chafing under such stereotypes while conceding there is some truth to them, primary care physicians and psychiatrists alike worked to break down barriers to communication in several sessions at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

"Helping primary care physicians learn our language isn't always enough. We have to learn their language, too," asserted John Urbaitis, MD, chief of psychiatry at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore (Md), and codirector of a course on the role of psychiatrists in primary care.

Although psychiatrists may be asked to consult on hospitalized medical patients, people stay in the hospital today only for acute stabilization. While in the hospital, Urbaitis said, they are too sick to do much talking or creative thinking about their psychosocial life.

Psychiatrists must do more cooperative evaluations and care of patients in primary care