Study Underscores Challenges of Integrating Physical, Behavioral Health in Medicaid

Since integrating physical and behavioral health into its managed Medicaid program beginning in 2016, the state of Washington has not seen significant changes in utilization, quality measures or health outcomes, according to a recent JAMA Health Forum study. Experts tell AIS Health, a division of MMIT, that the study illustrates the challenges associated with integrating behavioral and physical health care that may not be fully apparent until the process begins.

K. John McConnell, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, tells AIS Health that Washington is just one of many states that in recent years have moved away from so-called carve-out models in Medicaid, where one health plan handles physical health and a separate behavioral health organization manages behavioral health. Most states now have carve-in designs where states contract with managed care organizations (MCOs) that are responsible for payment for all health care services for their members.

© 2024 MMIT
Tim Casey

Tim Casey

Tim has worked as a reporter and editor for more than 20 years. Before joining AIS Health in December 2021, he was a business reporter covering the commercial real estate industry’s capital markets for four years. He previously covered health care business issues for two medical publishing companies and high school, college and professional sports for the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Tim has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.

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