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Dr Roger Kathol Discusses Health Outcomes of Treating Mental Illness

Stabilizing and treating mental illnesses reduces the cost of treating associated medical problems, leading to a win-win situation, said Roger Kathol, MD, president of Cartesian Solutions, Inc., and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.


Stabilizing and treating mental illnesses reduces the cost of treating associated medical problems, leading to a win-win situation, said Roger Kathol, MD, president of Cartesian Solutions, Inc., and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.

Transcript

What are the health outcomes of integrating behavioral health services?

The outcome is, number one, that the mental health issues improve substantially or completely resolve. There are a number of people that have mental health or substance abuse conditions that will improve but not go away, and so maintaining and stabilizing them is an important component.

But then once they have an improvement, then the majority of the cost associated with mental health problems is not the mental health issues. It’s the use of medical services, which is about 4 times as much as the cost of the mental health services. So as you improve the mental health conditions so that patients are stabilized or the mental health problems are resolved, then the amount of service use on the medical side decreases, and the health problems that are commonly occurring in patients with mental health problems, such as chronic medical illnesses, tend to stabilize as well and it’s a win for everybody.

 
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