Evaluation of a Continuum-Based Behavioral Health Integration Framework Among Small Primary Care Practices in New York State

The related press release can be found here.

One in five New Yorkers suffer from mental health disorders, but most 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, using a framework developed by Henry Chung, MD, of Montefiore Health System and Harold Pincus, MD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The framework, developed with support from UHF, was designed to help primary care practices integrate behavioral health screening and treatment into health care delivery. With additional support from NYSHealth and UHF, in 2018 Drs. Chung and Pincus conducted an evaluation of 11 medical practices across New York State that were 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.