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Insights and Trends

Behavioral Health in the Primary Care Setting: 5 Areas of Positive Impact

Behavioral health integration within the primary care setting can play a pivotal role in a hospital’s ability to generate improved patient satisfaction and outcomes, as well as enhanced hospital efficiency and overall care quality. However, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to behavioral health integration, notes an American Physiological Association (APA) report.1

To help build and maintain a successful behavioral health program, many hospitals are turning to partnership to address the needs of this growing patient population while still being able to focus on other core service lines within the hospital.

When the right partner is brought into the fold, gaps in behavioral health expertise can begin to be filled, allowing patients to reap the benefits of effective behavioral health treatment while remaining in the same primary care setting. This expertise can include psychology, psychiatry, social work, nursing and licensed mental health practitioners.

In addition to this added clinical expertise, here are five supplementary areas of improvement following behavioral health integration in the primary care setting:1

  1. Elevated levels of patient satisfaction: As the behavioral health population continues to grow, increasing accessibility to this form of treatment not only helps improves patient outcomes, but it removes capacity strains on already overcrowded emergency departments. This ultimately improves engagement between patients and their care journey as well as their adherence to treatment programs following discharge.

  2. Enhanced patient outcomes and population health: The increased access to behavioral health treatment also provides substantial benefit to patient outcomes and the overall community’s health. Studies have shown decreased feelings of depression, anxiety and suicide ideation across communities following the integration of behavioral health in the primary care setting.

  3. Reduced care cost: When effective behavioral health treatment is provided within the primary care setting, patients experiencing both mental and physical conditions can reap the benefits. This reduces the need for transfer as well as the risk if readmission down the line.

  4. Improved provider care delivery: Having the right expertise within a behavioral health unit or hospital is critical when it comes to patient outcomes as well as provider care delivery. When the right staff and program are in place, more effective care can be delivered – leading to improvements in clinical outcomes, efficiencies and satisfaction.

  5. Helps address a wide range of population health needs: Similar other service lines, behavioral health can help hospitals improve outcomes across a variety of demographics. Behavioral health care has proven especially beneficial to patients in historically underserved communities, as well as women and children who continue to see rising rates of behavioral health conditions.2

Now more than ever behavioral health is a critical component to a hospital’s overall strategy and having this treatment available within the primary care setting can provide significant benefit to patients, their families and the entire community.

Contact us today to learn how partnership can with a focused behavioral health expert can help your hospital take the next step in behavioral health integration.


  1. American Psychological Association. (2021). Behavioral Health Integration Fact sheet. American Psychological Association. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from
  2. Waddill, K. (2021, October 8). Behavioral Health, physical health worsen among women, children. HealthPayerIntelligence. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from

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