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Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care Residency and Nonresidency Practices.

Family Medicine 2023 September
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Integrated behavioral health (BH) is becoming a preferred model of care for primary care because it improves patient outcomes and satisfaction. Little is known about whether residency practices are consistently modeling this preferred care model relative to real-world nonresidency practices. The study compared levels of BH integration, patient health outcomes, and satisfaction with care between residency practices and nonresidency practices with colocated BH providers.

METHODS: Baseline data were collected in 2018-2019 from 44 practices and their adult patients with chronic conditions participating in a cluster-randomized, pragmatic trial to improve BH integration. The sample included 18 (40.9%) residency and 26 (59.1%) nonresidency practices, with 1,817 (45.3%) patients from residency practices and 2,190 (54.7%) patients from nonresidency practices. Outcomes including BH integration levels (the Practice Integration Profile), patient health outcomes (the PROMIS-29), and patient satisfaction with care (the Consultation and Relational Empathy scale) were compared between residency and nonresidency practices using multivariate regression analyses.

RESULTS: No differences were found between BH integration levels, patient health outcomes, and patient satisfaction with care between residency and nonresidency practices. In a sample of primary care practices with colocated BH providers, residencies had BH integration and patient outcomes similar to real-world practices.

CONCLUSIONS: Primary care practices with residency programs reported comparable levels of BH integration, patient health outcomes, and patient satisfaction compared to practices without residency programs. Both types of practices require interventions and resources to help them overcome challenges associated with dissemination of high levels of BH integration.

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