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Community Ment Health J. 1997 Jun;33(3):175-87.

Organizational development strategies for integrating mental health services.

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  • 1Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8037, USA.


The recent debates about health care reform have focused attention on the need to develop organized systems of care capable of delivering comprehensive services which are coordinated or integrated. Achieving service integration has emerged as a central and pressing objective in most mental health systems in response to existing difficulties with fragmentation of care. However, attempts at service integration often fail at the implementation stage as provider agencies zealously guard their organizational boundaries and struggle with each other for power and control. In this article, the authors formulate an organizational development approach to service integration that focuses on reducing the rigid maintenance of agency boundaries by developing informal networks among staff of local provider agencies. Eight strategies, drawn from the research literature on services integration and recently implemented by a local mental health authority, are described as potential tools for use by systems managers in accomplishing these goals.

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