Medical Societies Advocate for Behavioral Health Integration
A coalition of eight leading medical associations is calling for the integration of behavioral health into primary care practice, plus the expansion of mental health and substance abuse disorder services to fill the unmet needs for these kinds of treatments. Behavioral health integration (BHI) could save as much as $68 billion per year in healthcare costs across all payers, the group wrote in Health Affairs. But underpayments for behavioral health treatment are contributing to the crisis in mental healthcare access, they wrote.
@bilash Federal and state policymakers can support widespread adoption of BHI if they raise payment levels for behavioral healthcare in public programs and invest in training and education to implement BHI services, according to the coalition. In addition, the government should work with health plans and behavioral health coverage programs to limit utilization review, enforce behavioral health parity laws, and strengthen network adequacy regulations. And federal funding of behavioral healthcare should be increased to expand the size of the counseling workforce, especially in underserved areas.