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Integrated Health Care

Integrated health care brings physical health and behavioral health (mental health and substance use) providers together with patients and their family members to create a more holistic form of patient-centered care.

Studies have shown that integrating behavioral health and primary care services improves mental and physical health outcomes, reduces substance use, and decreases medical costs.

People with mental illness are five times more likely to have a co-occurring physical health condition than those in the general population. Those with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than the population at large, due in part to treatable coinciding physical health conditions.

MHA of Greater Houston proudly leads the area’s Integrated Health Care Initiative (IHCI). The initiative convenes behavioral health and primary care providers, payers, institutions of higher education and other stakeholders. We develop recommendations to promote the expansion and sustainability of integrated health care in Texas, with a focus on financing and provider preparation.

Our involvement in integrated health care began almost 10 years ago with an investment from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and The Meadows Foundation, Inc., to form and facilitate a statewide learning community on integrated health care. Since then, we have continued to engage providers both locally and statewide in advancing the practice of integrated health.

Our work providing trainings, technical assistance, and learning communities has made us keenly aware of barriers to advancing integrated health care. Some of the barriers include current financing models and inadequately trained providers. The fee-for-service model promotes volume over value by reimbursing consumer/patient contacts rather than care coordination activities that contribute to successful integrated health care models. Traditional education programs have focused on the “siloed” training of health care professionals rather than on collaborative, team-based models. Both issues have hindered widespread adoption of integrated health care practices

For information about the Initiative contact Kara Hill (khill@mhahouston.org), Director of Integrated Health Care Initiative at Mental Health America of Greater Houston

…those with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than the population at large, due in part to treatable coinciding physical health conditions.