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The Financial Dimension of Integrated Behavioral/Primary Care

  • Nicholas A. CummingsEmail author
  • William T. O’Donohue
  • Janet L. Cummings
Article

Abstract

There are two reasons why mental health, now more appropriately termed behavioral healthcare, is declining: (a) a lack of understanding among psychotherapists of healthcare economics, particularly the intricacies of medical cost offset, and (b) our failure as a profession to see the importance of behavioral interventions as an integral part of the healthcare system inasmuch as the nation pays for healthcare, not psychosocial care. This paper will briefly describe the rapid changes in the economics of healthcare during the past 75 years, including the post World War II enthusiastic espousal of psychotherapy by the American public which was followed by a precipitous decline as our outcomes research in behavioral care remained ignorant of financial outcomes, leaving it to the government and managed care to arbitrarily curtail escalating mental health costs. At the present time psychology is on the cusp of becoming part of the healthcare system through integrated behavioral/primary care, renewing the primacy of financial considerations such as return on investment (ROI) and medical cost offset, as well as an urgency that we avoid the mistakes that are emerging in some flawed implementations of integrated care.

Keywords

Healthcare economics Medical cost offset Integrated behavioral/primary care 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas A. Cummings
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • William T. O’Donohue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Janet L. Cummings
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of NevadaRenoUSA
  2. 2.The Cummings Foundation for Behavioral HealthRenoUSA

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