The American Medical Association is putting more emphasis on the importance of improving mental and behavioral healthcare accessibility for Americans. Right now, it is difficult for the average American to access the appropriate mental health services they so desperately need. The reason is that most mental health clinics today operate under the fee-based care model.
If a patient visits their primary care physician seeking mental health treatment, they will send them to an outside mental health specialist. Unfortunately, most people in need of mental health treatment cannot afford the high fee prices associated with professional mental health services like psychiatry and psychology.
For this reason, several prominent medical groups like the American Medical Association are advocating for primary care to integrate with mental health care. The idea is that if patients can go to their ordinary doctor for mental health services, it would cost significantly less and provide them with better quality mental health care.
The Benefits of Primary Care Doctors Treating Mental Health
Primary care doesn’t treat mental health right now due to the lack of time spent between doctors and patients. The fee-based healthcare service model doesn’t give primary care doctors a chance to develop strong relationships with their patients and learn more about their mental health rather than only their physical health. But if it were under a value-based model, it would be easier for primary care doctors to integrate mental healthcare into their treatment practices.
Primary Medical Care Center could be a shining example of how the value-based healthcare model can benefit patients with mental health problems. Our medical professionals use a holistic treatment approach to prevent mental illness in patients rather than merely treating the symptoms with prescription medication. Since our facility features multiple types of medical professionals like cardiologists, nutritionists, and behavioral health specialists, our holistic approach is more effective in targeting the leading causes of patients’ mental health problems.
Our staff and patients benefit from this approach because it creates better healthcare results. Then other patients with mental health problems can become incentivized to seek the same type of holistic treatment which worked for other patients with similar mental health disorders. They’ll no longer neglect their mental health because the cultural stigma which stopped them from seeking help before will be torn down.
We want to create a culture where people are motivated to seek mental health treatment the same way they would seek treatment for the flu or a broken leg. The only way that can happen is if mental health becomes part of primary care. This would require more medical facilities to have on-site behavioral specialists and mental health professionals. That way, they can work with primary care doctors to treat a patient at the same facility rather than sending them somewhere else for treatment.
There are two problems with sending patients to a third-party mental health specialist. Firstly, the patient likely won’t be able to afford the fees associated with that specialist. Many health insurance policies have limitations on coverage for treatment from a mental health specialist. Secondly, there are more communication barriers between a primary care doctor and a third-party specialist. They likely won’t consult with each other over the patient’s mental health status.
As a result, the primary care doctor won’t know their patient’s actual mental health status or whether they are making any progress in that area. If a primary care doctor is ever going to improve their patient’s overall health successfully, they need to make sure the patient’s mental healthcare is improving. That can only happen if the mental health specialists are available at the same facility as them.
Mental Health as Primary Care is More Important Now Than Ever
The country is seeing an increase in mental health problems. It certainly doesn’t help that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more people to feel isolated and frustrated due to the heavy restrictions imposed. But if they talk to their primary care doctor about it, many of them will get referred to a third-party mental health specialist. Either that or they’ll be prescribed antidepressants. Neither of which is a viable solution.
We are at a critical point when mental healthcare has to become synonymous with primary care. So many people in the country experience panic attacks, sleep disorders, depression, stress, and anxiety. These mental health problems can deteriorate a person’s quality of life and cause them to develop physical symptoms, such as chest pains and shortness of breath. That is why if you give someone mental health treatment, it could actually improve their physical health too.
It won’t be easy integrating mental healthcare into the primary care models of the average medical facilities. There needs to be a financial incentive and cultural change for that to happen across the country. But, for now, you can seek mental health treatment at our primary care facility in Florida.
Would you like to inquire about seeking mental health treatment from the primary care services of the Primary Medical Care Center? Call us at (305) 751-1500 to make an appointment to talk with one of our medical professionals or specialists.