Primary care for those with severe and persistent mental illness

C Crews, H Batal, T Elasy, E Casper, P S Mehler
Western Journal of Medicine 1998, 169 (4): 245-50
Historically, the medical care of persons with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) has been suboptimal. In many communities, large gaps exist in the continuum of services necessary to meet the medical needs of those patients, and existing services are not well coordinated. The effect of the managed mental health care on patients with SPMI remains to be seen, but it does not bode well for patients who are already at risk for being undertreated. We initiated primary care clinics exclusively for patients with SPMI because of our belief that integrating primary care and mental health services offers the best hope of improving health care for those patients. Our experience to date is instructive for other health care systems.

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