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Did you know there is an evidence-based approach that works best when caring for persons with both physical and mental disorders?

written 02/25/2016
Patients with high mental healthcare costs incur 30% more in medical expenses than their counterparts without a history of mental health concerns (de Oliveira et al., 2016)? As the prevalence of chronic disease and the associated costs are rising, it becomes more important to understand the complexity of these diseases in order to determine the most effective treatment.   The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conducted a literature search for their Research Synthesis Report (2011) entitled Mental Disorders and Medical Comorbidity. This report emphasizes the need for Collaborative Care to address the adversities for individuals with both medical and mental conditions.

Benefit Performance Associates’ Integrated Health Advocacy Program (IHAP) focuses on this  “at-risk” population with collaborative care from a multidisciplinary team of health advocates. In doing so, IHAP teams provide high quality care for their participants by eliminating the fragmentation commonly found in traditional healthcare systems, and by providing support for these individuals to  confidently manage their conditions. Katon (2003) highlights bidirectional relationship between mental and medical comorbidities, meaning one gives rise to a higher risk factor of developing the other (as cited in Goodell, Druss and Walker, 2011). Sharing these risk factors implies a higher likelihood of developing further conditions, all of which cannot be managed with the limited time primary care physicians are allotted with their patients. IHAP research has also shown this method to be cost-effective, benefitting not only the participants, but employers as well, by reducing healthcare costs.


  • Goodell, S., Druss, B. G., & Walker, E. R. (2011). Mental disorders and medical comorbidity. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Research Synthesis Report (21).
  • De Oliveira, et al. (2016) Patients with High Mental Health Costs Incur Over 30 Percent More Costs Than Other High-Cost Patients. Health Affairs, 35(1). Retrieved from: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/35/1/36.full.pdf+html
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