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Primary Care and Mental Health Integration

The Institute has long been committed to providing the highest quality integrated healthcare. Mental health providers are located, either part time or full time, at all of the Institute’s health centers. In 2003, the Institute began utilizing the evidence-based Project IMPACT (Improving Mood, Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment) model to screen for and treat depression symptoms in primary care. Since that time, the Institute has achieved and maintained one of the highest universal screening rates in the country. In the past three years alone over 180,000 patients have been screened for depression in primary care and over 50% of those who screen positive have been successfully transitioned into ongoing mental health treatment at the Institute.

Most recently, the Institute has partnered with the NYS Department of Health, NYS Office of Mental Health, and the AIMS Center of the University of Washington to implement the New York State Collaborative Care Initiative, part of the state’s Medical Home Demonstration projects. The goal of this project is to improve the coordination, continuity and quality of care for individuals receiving primary care services in outpatient settings through implementation of integrated care models. Through this project, the Institute will provide hands-on technical assistance to over 25 hospitals and community health centers throughout New York State to adopt the Project IMPACT model of depression care, increasing screening and diagnosis of depression in primary care and adopting best practices for treating depression.

Research has shown that the best way to treat mental health disorders in primary care settings is to provide integrated primary care and mental health services – comprehensive, multidisciplinary care that is systematically combined to provide the best outcomes. In this way, mental health concerns can be addressed where the patient feels most comfortable receiving care and there is optimal coordination of care among providers. The Institute is proud to be a leader in bringing integrated care to New York State communities.

Virna Little, PsyD, LCSW-R, SAP, the Institute’s vice president for psychosocial services, contributed to this document.