Health care financing, policy, and delivery systems have historically separated primary health care from mental health and substance abuse services. Communities throughout the country are increasingly recognizing that bringing these clinical services together increases access, quality, health outcomes, and cost effectiveness of care. A 2000 study of Michigan Health Centers revealed out out of two patients have behavioral or emotional problems; one out of three have depression as a primary or secondary diagnosis; and one-third of physician contact hours are spent addressing behavioral or emotional problems. In addition, a recent study demonstrated that people with mental illness die 25 years sooner than people without mental illness.
Partnerships between Michigan Health Centers and Community Mental Health service providers are continuing to be developed throughout the state. In addition, many Health Centers are hiring additional behavioral health providers. Staff from Michigan Health Centers and partnering organizations are encouraged to join the MPCA Behavioral Health Network and participate in the Michigan Integrated Health Learning Community to continue the essential integration of primary care and behavioral health services across the state.