A New Partner in Mental Health Treatment: Your Primary Care Doctor

A New Partner in Mental Health Treatment: Your Primary Care Doctor

Mental health is a topic that most people don’t talk openly about, but issues like anxiety, addiction and depression are more common than you might think.

Nearly one in five U.S. adults deal with behavioral health problems (mental and substance abuse disorders). Despite the large number of people directly affected by behavioral health issues, there is still confusion over who is responsible for their care.

If you have a mental health issue, chances are you see a mental health specialist or visit a substance abuse treatment facility on your own, rather than at the suggestion of your primary doctor. It is common to meet with your specialists without coordinating the care with your primary doctor. This creates a disconnect between your traditional physical care and your mental health treatment, possibly resulting in redundant care and increased costs.

Also, you may not think about talking to a behavioral health specialist if you have a chronic medical conditions, but these specialists may help you find ways to manage conditions like diabetes, insomnia and chronic pain conditions. They can then share and discuss your treatment goals and progress with your primary doctor to make sure you are getting the best possible care.

Understanding the importance of holistic care for members, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is now making it easier for members to integrate mental health care and the physical care they receive from their primary care physician. It starts with you seeing a primary care doctor who is part of a Patient-Centered Medical Home (a connected group of health care providers who work together when caring for a patient). This is because physicians who participate in Patient-Centered Medical Homes are now encouraged to help you find a behavioral health specialist if you need it, and work together with that specialist to make sure all of your health needs are coordinated. This helps everyone you receive care from take better care of you.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your primary care doctor is part of a Patient-Centered Medical Home, call the number on the back of your membership card. If you would like more information about this initiative, head here. And for help finding a doctor who is part of a Patient-Centered Medical Home, visit this site.

Looking for more information about behavioral health coverage as well as how Blue Cross initiatives improve care and save money? Check out these other posts:

 

Photo credit: Stephen Dickter

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