The event marked the release of a new report, “The Economic Impact of Integration: Implications for Psychiatry,” by the international actuarial firm Milliman Inc. That report found that general medical costs for patients who have behavioral health disorders are 2-3 times higher than for those without behavioral illness. In fact, the additional health care costs incurred by people with behavioral comorbidities were estimated to be $293 billion in 2012. Effective integration of medical and behavioral care could save $26 billion to $48 billion annually in general health care costs, according to the report. The report considers commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid patient populations and includes utilization and cost data from millions of patients. Moreover, it compares data from those with both chronic medical conditions and behavioral conditions with data from those with only chronic medical conditions.
“Mental illness is important not only because of the pain and suffering it causes, but because it is too large to ignore,” said APA President-elect Paul Summergrad, M.D. (at left in photo) at the press conference.
The event brought together leaders in the movement toward integrated and collaborative care who emphasized that a key to addressing rising costs in American health care is integrated care that addresses the mental health needs of patients in primary care, as well as the primary care needs of those in specialty mental health settings. Speakers included Michael Hogan, Ph.D., former commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health; John O’Brien, senior policy advisor at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Michael Shoenbaum, Ph.D., senior advisor for mental health services, epidemiology, and economics at NIMH; Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., chief medical officer at SAMHSA; Henry Chung, M.D., medical director for the Montefiore Accountable Care Organization; Frank deGruy, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; and Keris Myrick, Ph.D., M.B.A., president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“Together we believe we can reunite the brain and the body,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Now is the time to do it.”
(Image: David Hathcox)