Hatfield School of Government. Health Systems and Policy Ph. D. Program
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Systems and Policy
Health Systems and Policy
1 online resource (x, 212 pages)
The prevalence of untreated and undertreated mental health concerns and the comorbidity of chronic conditions and mental illness has led to greater calls for the integration of primary care and mental health. In 2012, the Oregon Health Authority authorized 16 Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) to partner with their local communities to better coordinate physical, behavioral, and dental health care for Medicaid recipients. One part of this larger effort to increase coordination is the integration of primary care and mental health services in both primary care and community mental health settings.
The underlying assumption of CCOs is that organizations have the capacity to fundamentally change how health care is organized, delivered, and financed in ways that lead to improved access, quality of care, and health outcomes. Using the Rainbow Model of Integrated Care (RMIC), this study examined the factors that impact organizational efforts to facilitate the integration of primary care and mental health through interviews with executive and senior staff from three CCOs. The RMIC focuses attention on the different levels at which integration processes may occur as well as acknowledges the role that both functional and normative enablers of integration can play in facilitating integration processes within as well as across levels. The following research question was explored: What key factors in Oregon's health care system impede or facilitate the ability of Coordinated Care Organizations to encourage the integration of primary care and mental health?
Using a case study approach, this study drew upon qualitative methods to examine and identify the factors throughout the system, organizational, professional, and clinic levels that support CCO efforts to facilitate the integration of primary care and mental health. Fourteen primary interviews were conducted with executive and senior staff. In addition, eleven secondary interviews from a NIDA funded project as well as twenty-four key CCO documents from three CCOs were also included in this study.
The RMIC was successful in differentiating extent of CCO integration of primary care and mental health. Findings demonstrate that normative and functional enablers of integration were most prevalent at the system and organization level for integrating mental health into primary care for these three CCOs. However, there was variation in CCO involvement in the development of functional and normative enablers of integration at the professional and clinic levels. Normative and functional enablers of integration were limited at all of the RMIC levels for integrating primary care into community mental health settings across all three CCOs.
The Patient-Centered Primary Care Home model provided CCOs with an opportunity to develop functional and normative enablers of integration for integrating mental health in primary care settings. The lack of a fully developed model for integrating primary care services in community mental health settings serves as a barrier for reverse integration. An additional barrier is the instability of community mental health as compared to primary care; contributing factors include historically low wages and increased administrative burden. System wide conversations about where people are best served (i.e., primary care or community mental health) has yet to occur; yet these conversations may be critical for facilitating cross-collaboration and referral processes. Finally, work is needed to create and validate measures of integration for both primary care and community mental health settings. Overall findings confirm that integrating primary care and mental health is complex but that organizations can play an important role by ensuring the development of normative and functional enablers of integration at all levels of the system.
Baker, Robin Lynn, "Primary Care and Mental Health Integration in Coordinated Care Organizations" (2017). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3616.