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April 11-13, 2019
Internal Medicine Meeting 2019
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ACP Position Paper Offers Six Recommendations
(Washington, June 30, 2015)- The American College of Physicians
(ACP) today called for better integration of behavioral health into
primary care when it released its latest position paper, "The Integration
of Care for Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Other Behavioral
Health Conditions into Primary Care: American College of Physicians
Position Paper." A summary of the paper is in today's
Annals of Internal Medicine online edition.
"The policy paper provides an environmental scan of the current
state of conditions included in the concept of behavioral health
and examines the arguments for and barriers to increased
integration of behavioral health within the primary care setting,"
said Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP, president of ACP. "The
paper examines various approaches of delivering integrated care and
offers a series of policy recommendations based on the reviewed
information and evidence to inform actions of the College and its
members regarding advocacy, research, and practice."
ACP calls for:
These programs need to address both negative perceptions held by
the general population as well as those held by many physicians and
other health care professionals.
"There are many areas related to behavioral health that were not
addressed in this paper and are no less important to our members,
the patients they treat and society in general. This includes
ensuring the delivery of good primary care within specialized
behavioral health treatment settings-the home for care for many
patients with serious mental illness or substance abuse problems,"
Dr. Riley emphasized. "Other related areas, which ACP has already
addressed in policy statements, include efforts to decrease
prescription drug abuse, the acceptance of substance abuse as a
public health rather than a criminal issue , and the relationship
of behavioral health issues to ensuring firearm safety."
The ACP paper noted that physicians and other health care
professionals will have to consider the behavioral and physical
health of the patient if they are to be treated as a "whole
person." Most patients with behavioral health needs use the primary
care office as their main source of care and given the nation's
shortage of behavioral health providers, this may be the only
setting in which behavioral health can be broadly recognized and
treated. Changes to the health care delivery system, payment
models, education and training, health insurance coverage, and
societal and cultural perceptions are necessary to encourage
communication and integration among the behavioral and physical
The American College of Physicians is the
largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest
physician group in the United States. ACP members include 141,000
internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists,
and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists
who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the
diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the
spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
Contact: David Kinsman, (202) firstname.lastname@example.org