More than 56%, or 27 million, U.S. adults experiencing a behavioral health illness are not receiving treatment.1,2
Historically, a lack of education on behavioral health has played a major role in an individual’s willingness to seek treatment. However, as awareness and education around behavioral health services grow, new barriers hinder patients from receiving prompt and effective treatment.
Three key reasons behavioral health patients are still not getting the care they need:
- Care accessibility: The prevalence of behavioral health conditions continues to grow year-over-year yet care accessibility has not seen the same progress.3 A lack of hospital-based behavioral health programs and/or hospitals continues to play a major role in a patient’s ability to receive effective care. This often leads to undiagnosed symptoms that can compound over time, leaving patients to find potentially less effective treatment on their own.
Integrating a behavioral health program into a hospital’s care continuum not only helps expand care access, but it highlights the ever-growing need for effective behavioral health resources for individuals across the nation.
- Co-occurring illnesses: 87% of patients with behavioral health conditions have one or more medical conditions.3
Historically, patients would prioritize seeking treatment for their physical illnesses over behavioral – leading to worse metal health outcomes and higher care costs, as noted above. Studies highlight that patients with both a physical and behavioral health condition face 2-3X higher medical costs than patients experiencing just physical illness.3
A behavioral health program can reduce these costs through comprehensive treatment plans that address the unique needs of each patient across a hospital’s care continuum.
- Behavioral health staff shortage: Over 150 million people live in areas that have a shortage of behavioral health professionals. Within a few years, the U.S. could be short nearly 32,000 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.4 In some counties, there isn’t a single psychiatrist available to the community – leaving many patients to travel outside of their community to find care.
Integrating a behavioral health program is the first step in addressing this shortage, but identifying qualified behavioral health talent to help diagnose, treat and successfully discharge patients is critical for hospital and community outcomes.
To help address and overcome each of these barriers, hospitals have found success in partnering with a behavioral health expert. Specifically, a joint venture or contract management partnership allows hospitals to gain access to both local and national resources to help them expand their reach, grow their care capabilities and hire qualified staff to get patients the behavioral health treatment they need to live happier, healthier lives.
Contact us to learn how Lifepoint Behavioral Health can help your hospital meet the unique needs of your patients and community through a strategic partnership.