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APA Pushes for Integrated Care Training to Reduce Health Care Costs, Improve Access

For Information Contact:                                                                                                                 

Glenn O’Neal, 703-907-8640                                                                                                            March 9, 2015                                                                                                                          Release No. 15-15

Erin Connors, 703-907-8562                                                                                                                                                                                                             


APA Pushes for Integrated Care Training to Reduce Health Care Costs, Improve Access

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 9, 2015)— The American Psychiatric Association (APA) released today new training recommendations that call for residency programs to educate our next generation of psychiatrists in integrated behavioral health care, an effort to cut health care costs and improve access to mental health services.  The training recommendations are to inform all spans of a practicing or prospective psychiatrist’s education: the undergraduate and graduate medical education as well as continuing medical education phases.

As new models of health care delivery emerge, psychiatrists roles will likely change. Psychiatric education must take on the challenge of preparing current and future psychiatrists to deliver patient-center, team-based care. The recommendations are designed to break down the barriers between mental health and physical health and support psychiatrists’ work in tandem with primary care doctors on a patient’s total health care. By improving access to psychiatrists, the integrated model helps to address shortages of all types of mental health providers that occur in some parts of the U.S.  In fact, there are a number of collaborative models, such as having a psychiatrist in the primary care office and increased use of telepsychiatry.

“We identified emerging integrated care models that are important for overall system change and therefore important to the world of education, because practitioners were going to need to develop a new set of skills, new ways of collaborating, new knowledge and new cultural values to be able to practice in these new models,” said Richard Summers, M.D., chairman of the APA’s Council of Medical Education and Lifelong Learning, which developed the report.

The integrated care approach will save consumers in the long run. The additional cost of patients who have physical and behavioral disorders in 2012 was estimated at $293 billion. Other research has demonstrated that collaborative care models – one form of integrated care – have shown decreased health care costs.

The recommendations, which will be sent to 219 general psychiatry training programs across the U.S. and Canada, stem from a comprehensive report by the council that will soon be published in the journal Academic Psychiatry.

Some of the key recommendations include:

  • All training programs should emphasize inter-specialty education to help physicians develop the attitudes and skills necessary for collaborative practice.
  • Undergraduate training programs should develop early exposure to primary care settings that utilize effective integrated behavioral health.
  • Graduate Medical Education programs should develop faculty members with interest and experience in integrated behavioral care to teach and supervise residents and advocate for collaborate practice in the institution.

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at




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