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Psychiatr Serv. 2010 Nov;61(11):1087-92. doi: 10.1176/

Health care reform and care at the behavioral health--primary care interface.

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  • 1Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


The historic passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010 offers the potential to address long-standing deficits in quality and integration of services at the interface between behavioral health and primary care. Many of the efforts to reform the care delivery system will come in the form of demonstration projects, which, if successful, will become models for the broader health system. This article reviews two of the programs that might have a particular impact on care on the two sides of that interface: Medicaid and Medicare patient-centered medical home demonstration projects and expansion of a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration program that colocates primary care services in community mental health settings. The authors provide an overview of key supporting factors, including new financing mechanisms, quality assessment metrics, information technology infrastructure, and technical support, that will be important for ensuring that initiatives achieve their potential for improving care.

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