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Health Soc Work. 1997 Feb;22(1):20-9.

The case for integration of social work psychosocial services into rural primary care practice.

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School of Social Work, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 35487, USA.


This article argues for health and mental health collaboration between social workers and rural primary care physicians and describes a study of physicians' attitudes toward integrated services. The physicians who expressed interest in a collaborative arrangement differed in practice characteristics, attitudes toward social workers, and endorsement of social work roles. Also, interested physicians treated significantly more patients, had the lowest proportion of patients over age 65, and endorsed as useful a significantly larger number of social work activities. If social workers aspire to collaborative arrangements in rural primary care, they must provide excellent services now, continue to work toward a better understanding of their broad mental health competencies, and be willing to provide services that conform to the expectations and limitations of primary care.

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