Evidence Continues to Build in Support of Integrated Primary Care

Physical and mental illness often co-occur, but services remain largely fragmented. For example, individuals with severe mental illness are two to three times more likely to have type 2 diabetes–yet they are infrequently screened for diabetes.

A study from the University of California at San Francisco looked at a cohort of more than 50,000 adults insured through Medicaid taking antipsychotic medications. More than 70 percent did not receive a screen for diabetes.

But if a patient had at least one primary care visit plus mental health services they were twice as likely to be screened.

In a press release from UCSF, Christina Mangurian, MD, MAS, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the UCSF School of Medicine and lead author of the study said:

“Our health care system is fragmented for people with mental illness. For example, the mental health electronic medical record is totally separate from their primary care electronic record, truly limiting the quality of care this vulnerable population can receive.As a community psychiatrist, I see so many people who are untreated or under-treated for physical health problems because of this lack of integration.”

The study was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.