There’s a whole lot of talk about integrated care, but rarely do we ever see it in action. Integrated care means that physical and mental/behavioral health are treated, studied, and funded simultaneously. This is ideal because poor physical health tends to take a toll on mental health and poor mental health makes maintenance of physical health more difficult. Despite these well-known facts, physical and mental health are often treated, studied, and funded separately, leaving patients bouncing between providers, struggling to find coverage for their total health needs, and confronting lack of understanding about their physical or behavioral health problems when seeing oppositely-oriented providers.
It seems like CU Anschutz had a 2016 full of victories for the fight to integrate physical and behavioral health!
- In January, they opened a flat monthly fee clinic staffed by nurse practitioners that offers integrated routine physical and behavioral healthcare services.
- In September, they celebrated the one-year anniversary of their campus wellness clinic that houses physical and mental healthcare services together.
- In early December, they started work on a grant-funded project to address mental health disparities in low-income Coloradans with lung, head, and neck cancers.
- Most recently, they’ve started exploring the simultaneous physiological and psychological benefits of pairing shelter dogs and veterans for walks.
Bonus shout-out for their destigmatization efforts by acknowledging and advising critical-care nurses who have PTSD.
Happy Holidays from the Network and three cheers for CU AMC!