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Evidence to Practice
May 2016

Effectiveness and Value of Integrating Behavioral Health Into Primary Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(5):691-692. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.0804

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review1 developed an evidence report on behavioral health integration (BHI) to support public meetings of the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF) and New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC) in April and May of 2015.

Nearly 30% of adults with a physical health disorder also have one or more behavioral health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, panic disorders, mood disorders, or substance use disorders.2 Despite these conditions being inextricably linked, clinicians in the US health care system often assess and treat patients with physical health conditions and behavioral health conditions in silos. Depression and anxiety in particular are common in primary care settings but are often inadequately identified and treated, leading to a worsening of behavioral conditions and increased difficulty managing physical health conditions. During the past 2 decades, many initiatives have sought to integrate behavioral health and primary care.3 Questions remain, however, regarding the latest evidence on the effectiveness and value of BHI.

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