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Insights and Trends

Behavioral health consumes majority of healthcare spending: Improve outcomes through program integration

Current state of behavioral healthcare spending

Patients with behavioral health conditions – in addition to physical conditions – drive roughly 57% of all healthcare spending. However, very little of that money goes toward treating behavioral conditions, notes a Milliman report.1

Although behavioral health is a cost driver for many hospitals and health systems, behavioral health services are rarely treated as a priority.

Why is this concerning?

Over the past several years health leaders have seen rapid increases in behavioral health cases within their hospitals. These cases are also often compounded by existing physical conditions, making access to behavioral health resources all the most important.

Behavioral health integration’s impact on hospital efficiencies:

      • Employs specially trained behavioral health professionals to identify and treat unique behavioral health needs.
      • Keeps patients within the same care setting – allowing them to remain close to home and family.
      • Enables patients admitted for a physical illness or injury to benefit from behavioral health treatment – something that is often not addressed during physical recovery and can be a main cause for readmission in the future.
      • Helps reduce care cost and lowers readmission risk by addressing all of a patient’s care needs in the same care episode.

When behavioral health programs are not given the proper funding, hospitals could experience suboptimal outcomes due to unmet patient needs across the care continuum.

The impact behavioral health access has on community outcomes

As of 2023, roughly 50 million U.S. adults are experiencing at least one mental illness. Of those 50 million, 55% have not yet received any treatment – mostly due to the lack of access within their community.2

When an effective behavioral health program is put in place – either within an existing post-acute setting or as a standalone facility – patients and the entire community can experience:

      • Increased awareness of behavioral health conditions, how to identify symptoms and where to seek treatment.
      • Patient and community reassurance that all care can be met without having to travel to a different location.
      • Increased care efficiency within the hospital as more quality resources become available to treat a variety of behavioral health conditions.
      • Improved health and well-being of the entire community.

How your hospital can be part of the change

Whether your hospital already has a behavioral health program in place, or is interested in integrating a brand-new program, having the right tools, resources and expertise to provide comprehensive behavioral healthcare is critical.

Partnership continues to be a leading strategy for hospitals and health systems to stay ahead of the constantly shifting healthcare space – and the same is true for behavioral health.

As a leading provider in post-acute services, including behavioral health and inpatient rehabilitation, Lifepoint helps our partner hospitals generate the highest quality care without expending unnecessary resources and capital: a win for both the hospital and the community they serve.

Interested in growing or expanding your post-acute service offerings? Contact us today to learn how Lifepoint can help your hospital address the growing behavioral health population in your community.


  • Davenport, S., Gray, T. J., & Melek, S. (2020). How to individuals with behavioral health conditions contribute to physical and total healthcare spending? Milliman. PDF
  • 2023 State of Mental Health in America survey. Mental Health America. (2023).



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