United Hospital Fund Supports Evaluation That Shows Small Primary Care Practices Can Help Patients Access Mental Health Care
NEW YORK, NEW YORK April 4, 2019—One in five New Yorkers suffer from mental health disorders, but most of these people do not have access to treatment, especially in disadvantaged communities. A year-long project demonstrated that small primary care practices can help fill this gap by screening patients for depression and coordinating their mental health, medical, and social service needs, according to a report released today by United Hospital Fund, Montefiore Health System, and the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth).
A team led by Henry Chung, MD, of Montefiore and Harold Pincus, MD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital developed a framework, with support from UHF, for primary care practices to integrate behavioral health screening and treatment into how they deliver care.
With additional support from NYSHealth and UHF, Drs. Chung and Pincus conducted an evaluation in 2018 of 11 medical practices across New York State using the framework, all at locations with less than five primary care providers. Among a representative sample of practices, depression screening rates improved from a baseline of 25 percent to 33 percent, and depression detection rates increased by 78 percent. There were also improvements in referrals, tracking patients, and greater information-sharing between primary care doctors and behavioral health specialists...