Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack recently introduced legislation to incentivize the integration of primary and behavioral healthcare. The Behavioral Health Care Integration Act (H.R. 4388) would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to award competitive grants to merged practices that offer both mental health services and primary care within the same shared space in the same facility.
Physical and behavioral health issues often go hand in hand. Tragically, individuals with mental health or substance use disorders die at a young age at higher rates than the average American, often due to chronic medical illnesses that go untreated. Further, behavioral health conditions complicate the treatment of physical illnesses. We can work to improve the overall health and wellbeing of these patients by providing access to a team of providers who have experience in addressing all of their needs.
“If we want to really make a difference in the overall health and wellbeing of Iowans, we need to recognize that the brain is part of the body and treated as such. Patients deserve to have access to the same level of care for their mental health or substance use disorders as they do for their diabetes or chronic heart disease,” said Loebsack. “Further, integrated practices lead to reduced costs as a result of the improved medication adherence, reduced hospitalizations and other positive patient outcomes. That is why I am pleased to introduce legislation to incentivize the development of more integrated behavioral and primary care practices to better address a person’s overall health care needs.”
The text of Congressman Loebsack’s legislation can be found here.