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Counselors As Contributors to Health Care Reform

Counselors As Contributors to Health Care Reform
 
 The training of  counselor educators and supervisors provides for instruction in the  wellness model, developmental stages of lifetime adjustment, early  intervention and prevention, and empowerment of clients. These values  seem perfectly matched for the re-focusing of health care on the early  stages of care rather than end-of-life care. An example of a health care  model that utilizes early identification of mental health issues and  has a client-centered approach to care is Intermountain Healthcare’s  Mental Health Integration model. 

 Intermountain’s Mental Health Integration  involves licensed mental health professionals working side-by-side with  primary care physicians. Together they are administering or reviewing  clients’ mental health screening instruments, consulting with physicians  on mental health issues, providing same-day brief counseling and  psycho-education, recommending referral for chronic and severe patients,  and working in a health care team along with other professionals. This  model engages community agencies such as the National Alliance for  Mental Illness (NAMI) to support patients and families in the treatment  process. Studies at Intermountain indicate that the Mental Health  Integration model provides higher quality health care at revenue-neutral  or reduced costs. The idea is for mental health workers to collaborate  across professional fields to increase quality health care. 

 The Committee on  Crossing the Quality Chasm: Adaptation to Mental Health and Addictive  Disorders offers the following six aims to achieve high-quality health  care: 

 “The Six Aims of High-Quality Health Care: 

Safe—avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.

Effective—providing  services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and  refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit.

Patient-centered—providing  care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient  preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide  all clinical decisions.

Timely—reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care.
Efficient—avoiding waste, in particular waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy.
Equitable—providing  care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics  such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic  status”

 Source: Institute of Medicine (Eds.). (2006). Improving the quality of health care for mental and substance-use conditions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Retrieved from http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11470&page=57 

 To prepare for this Discussion: 

 Review the article,  “Integration of Mental Health into Primary Health care in Uganda:  Opportunities and Challenges.” Consider the challenges to integrating  mental health care into primary care and think about strategies for  overcoming these challenges. 

 Review the article, “Far  West Area Health Service Mental Health Integration Project: Model for  Rural Australia,” and think about how mental health care can be improved  by using a primary health care model. 

 Review the article,  “Reducing Harm Through Quality Improvement.” Consider the challenges and  opportunities presented by Intermountain Healthcare’s mental health  integration quality improvement program. 

 Think about how you think the implementation of the mental health integration model might affect you personally. 

 With these thoughts in mind: 

 Post a (200 Word APA Format) an  explanation of how you think you would be affected personally by the  implementation of the mental heath integration model. Be specific, using  the model and your situation to illustrate your points.
 
 

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