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Dr Roger Kathol: Treatment of a Mental Health Condition Is Essential

Mental health treatment is a necessary prerequisite for effective treatment of the patient’s medical conditions, said Roger Kathol, MD, president of Cartesian Solutions, Inc., and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.

Mental health treatment is a necessary prerequisite for effective treatment of the patient’s medical conditions, said Roger Kathol, MD, president of Cartesian Solutions, Inc., and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.

How does the integration of behavioral health services further the goals of the Triple Aim?

The triple aim is improved health, improved healthcare experience for the patient, and decreased cost. So by not treating mental health conditions in patients that have chronic medical illnesses, the chronic medical conditions continue to just go along without getting better.

Once you’ve effectively treated the mental health condition, then patients are better able to adhere to the treatments that they’re getting for their medical conditions, and so treatment of the mental health condition is an essential component to effective treatment of the person, so that both their mental health and their medical problems resolve.

What population is being reached with these initiatives to better integrate behavioral health services?

Certainly in both the mental health and the medical setting, there are a significant number of people that have serious mental illnesses, SMI is what it’s called. And the integration is important for both the seriously mentally ill and those that have less serious mental illness, because the interaction between the mental illness and the medical illness remains regardless of whether it’s serious or not. And finally for total improvement of health and getting back to as high a function as possible, you really have to address the mental health along with the medical in order to successfully improve the person’s condition.

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