Behavioral Health Integration Position Papers by AAFP and ACP

The American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP), and the American College of Surgeons (ACP) have published recent position papers on Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) in Primary Care. These organizations and their recommendations will have a great impact on BHI and we encourage you to read them in full using the links provided below.

AAFP: Mental Health Care Services by Family Physicians (Position Paper)  

The AAFP position paper opens by saying:

“While psychiatric professionals are an essential element of the total health care continuum, the majority of patients with mental health issues will continue to access the health care system through primary care physicians. The desire of patients to receive treatment from their primary care physicians, or at least to have their primary care physicians more involved in their care, has been repeatedly documented. Improving mental health treatment requires enhancing the ability of the primary care physician to screen, treat and appropriately manage the psychiatric care given to patients.”

ACP: The Integration of Care for Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Other Behavioral Health Conditions into Primary Care: An American College of Physicians Position Paper 

The ACP paper opens with:

“Behavioral health care includes care for patients around mental health and substance abuse conditions, health behavior change, life stresses and crises, and stress-related physical symptoms. Mental and substance use disorders alone have been estimated to surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide by 2020…

This position paper focuses on the issue of better integration of behavioral health into the primary care setting. It provides an environmental scan of the current state of conditions included in the concept of behavioral health and examines the arguments for and barriers to increased integration into primary care. It also examines various approaches of integrated care delivery and offers a series of policy recommendations that are based on the reviewed information and evidence to inform the actions of the American College of Physicians and its members regarding advocacy, research, and practice.”

Posted July 2015