The Other Half of the Story: ACOs Must Bring Behavioral Health Providers into the Clinical Mix

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Accountable Care Organizations, which used to be the wave of the future, are the here and now. As groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers come together to coordinate care, it is essential they include behavioral health providers in the mix. According to a recent National Comorbidity Survey, 17 percent of the adult population had comorbid mental and medical conditions within a 12-month period. Patients with comorbidities require a comprehensive treatment plan to truly bend the cost curve.  For example, statistics show a person with diabetes will cost an average of $9,000 per year to treat.  However If that person also has a diagnosis of a behavioral health and/or a substance use disorder, that number skyrockets to more than $36,000 per year. ACOs focused on the whole person will be much better positioned to achieve the needed outcomes and cost reductions required within ACO populations.

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Realized: The Promise of Evidence-Based Practice in Behavioral Health

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“A systemic approach to analyze published research as the basis of clinical decision making.” That’s how evidence-based medicine was first defined more than two decades ago. And it makes sense doesn’t it? The best treatment philosophies are born of experience – and if we can draw from our collective experience we give ourselves the best chance of improving outcomes.

Evidence-based treatment (EBT) in medicine has been embraced for years, but in the behavioral setting we have struggled to implement it for reasons big and small. Continue reading Realized: The Promise of Evidence-Based Practice in Behavioral Health

Don’t go on the Offensive with Your Body’s Defense

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Achoo!

As we enter the cold and flu season, take pause. I know it’s annoying to have itchy eyes, a runny nose and a bothersome cough, but I’d like to talk with you about the challenges of overmedicating.

Society has broadly sought medication as a silver bullet since the discovery of penicillin and the mass manufacturing of antibiotics. Antibiotics aren’t needed for a benign viral illness yet we continue to prescribe costly medications without clear and obvious justification and in doing so, we’ve created a situation in which antibiotic-resistant bacteria are flourishing.

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Going Beyond 5 Rights to a Person-Centric Model

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Prescription and over-the-counter medications are milestone medical advances that impact how we treat and prevent illness. Medication therapies for individuals with behavioral health conditions have become much more prevalent and accepted in the past 10 years. Nonetheless, it is primary care physicians that prescribe the majority of behavioral health medications; overall, 67 percent of psychopharmacologic drugs are prescribed by primary care physicians (Rural Health Advisory Committee, 2005).

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