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Insights and Trends

Strategies to Improve Primary Care Operations: Importance of Behavioral Health Partnership

Growing Need for Behavioral Health in the Hospital Setting

An analysis by the Advisory Board noted that approximately 90% of both low- and high-acuity patients would choose to seek out their primary care provider (PCP) for behavioral health treatment and/or resources.1

However, patients who choose to admit to their PCP over other settings, such as a hospital-based behavioral health program, could receive subpar care and therefore lead to additional admissions and increased behavioral health needs in the future.

To combat this growing trend, hospitals are looking to integrate comprehensive behavioral health resources into their care continuum. Yet, this does not come without its own challenges.

Top 3 Behavioral Health Challenges: What They Are and How Hospitals can Overcome Them

    1. Rising patient numbers: Now more than ever, hospitals are experiencing increasing numbers of patients with mental and physical conditions. Specifically, 71% of physicians report treating more patients with behavioral health conditions than before the pandemic.

Having a hospital-based program dedicated to behavioral health treatment will not only alleviate the burden on the mounting number of physicians experiencing feelings of burnout, but it will help reassure patients that their condition and care quality is a priority to the hospital.

Hospitals are finding seamless and effective integration of a behavioral health program possible through the support of a trusted partner.

    1. Lack of available in-person treatment: Although a multitude of mental health apps and websites have come out in recent years, patients still report a strong desire to receive in-person treatment – further supporting the importance of behavioral health integration within a hospital’s care continuum.

When hospitals back this integration with guidance from a partner, patients can begin to see increased access to critical behavioral health treatment and resources. Hospital can then remain focused on other core service offerings in addition to reaping the benefits behavioral health programming can have on patients across care settings.

    1. Specialized training: 50% of physicians surveyed in the Advisory Board analysis report only receiving one to 10 hours of behavioral health training annually. Because of this lack of training, many physicians don’t feel comfortable talking to their patients about behavioral health and only 25% have high confidence in diagnosing severe mental illnesses.

A qualified behavioral health partner understands the importance of continued education and training to help maintain strong outcomes. Instead of having to reach outside a hospital’s scope or dig internally for potential resources, the right partner will have access to local and national talent, and top-rated behavioral health training to help ensure staff are prepared to take on the growing patient population.

Behavioral Health Partnership: Benefiting Patient Outcomes and Hospitals Operations

Adding a behavioral health program to a hospital’s care continuum can be challenging, as it is different from a hospital’s core care offerings.

The analysis notes that receiving outside expertise from a partner was a top priority for PCPs to help successfully integrate a behavioral health program without expending unnecessary resources. Something that could easily occur without guidance from a trusted expert. Additionally, recent studies highlight that integrating behavioral health services into the hospital setting does not create added cost to the hospital.2

Lifepoint Behavioral Health is a leader in treating patients with mental health and substance use disorders through partnerships that integrate best practices, resources and innovative solutions – helping to produce high-quality care, streamlined operations and enhanced efficiencies.

Is your hospital overcome with patients seeking comprehensive behavioral health care or resources? Contact us to learn how a behavioral health contract management or joint venture partnership can help your hospital address this growing need and help you stay prepared for future healthcare shifts.



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