Prevalence And Spending Associated With Patients Who Have A Behavioral Health Disorder And Other Conditions [Cost Of Comorbidities]

People with multiple medical conditions are a growing and increasingly costly segment of the U.S. population. Despite the co-occurrence of physical and behavioral health comorbidities, the US health care system tends to treat these conditions separately rather than holistically. To identify opportunities for population health improvement, we examined the treated prevalence of and health care spending on behavioral health disorders, by the number of coexisting physical disorders, among noninstitutionalized adults. The vast majority (85 percent) of spending was attributed to treatment of the physical comorbidities. Only 15 percent was attributed to treatments of the behavioral disorders; of these, a primary diagnosis of depression was most common, seen in 57 percent of the sample. These findings suggest the potential to improve outcomes and reduce spending by applying collaborative care models more broadly. Policies should promote payment and delivery reforms that advance the integration of behavioral health and primary care.

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