KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

New ‘Movements’ Seek To Introduce Preventive, Mental Health Care In New Settings

A nationwide effort to coordinate mental health with primary care is underway, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "The idea is to give simple interventions in 15- to 30-minute visits that will address behavioral issues ranging from stress to traumatic reactions that often go untreated." Some clinics have coupled licensed social workers with their other clinical staff; the mental health experts provide services while patients and family members receive physical care. "Insurers, however, have been slow to pay even for brief visits, so the model is catching on mostly in settings where the same entity provides insurance and medical care: Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, federally funded health centers such as 11th Street, and Veterans Affairs medical centers" (Sapatkin, 9/28).

A separate "growing movement supported by key lawmakers and health industry leaders" is meant to turn "health care upside down" by "keeping people well … in the first place," The Florida Times-Union reports. The president of one Jacksonville, Fla., company says, "Everyone's talking about prevention, but a year ago it was one line in the Republican Party platform and three in the Democratic Party's." However, experts are still on the fence about whether or not the efforts will lower costs. The company, Preventive Medicine, offers packages that cover screening, telephone consultations with nurses, and online information for $60 to $450 per year, per person. The costs are often paid by employers (Cox, 9/28).

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