Without the fullest array of services in any health care delivery system people will suffer and costs will escalate. Whether it is geography with regional or rural differences or public vs. private medical services, the need for a balanced care continuum is essential for quality care. There must be appropriate preventative and/or step down services for medical and behavioral healthcare otherwise individuals are forced to access care at hospitals which are the most expensive and over-used services.
Having the appropriate array of lower level services including residential treatment centers, clinics, group homes, outpatient therapies and the like are the fundamental services necessary for persons with behavioral health needs. We’ve all heard the statistics. We’ve seen the tragedies on the news across the country. There have been inquiries and task forces but the answers are not as complicated. To reduce the cost of healthcare, a statewide system of care must be in place where individuals and families can access the appropriate level of care that they need routinely. When this exists and services are available, people access what they need as they need it. We know this works. We know it’s important and not simply for the most acute needs. Every person will suffer from a behavioral health episode one or more times in a life. It may be environmental. It may be due to a life event or tragic circumstance… but it will occur. This fact coupled with the reality that behavioral issues such as depression and anxiety exacerbate medical conditions makes the need for these types of services all the more essential.
The same need for a continuum of services is true for physical health care as well. Specialty services are often only accessible through hospital systems today; however, these may only be sparsely available. As such, there is greater emphasis now on primary care physicians, internal medicine and general practitioners to do more. The same demand is increasing for nurses. When there is a lack of resources, those that are left are asked to stretch beyond their capacity.
Without a balance in our healthcare service delivery system in all our communities, quality access is a casualty. People access care only when absolutely necessary which is usually when it is at it’s worst… the most acute and the most expensive.
To solve our healthcare crisis, we must begin with the basics. Do services exist? If not, how can we create them? A care continuum matters.
Angela Perri is a healthcare expert. As an industry professional with over a decade of experience in the field, Angela Perri has an insightful understanding of the problems facing many states as well as healthcare organizations. She understands how to develop comprehensive solutions to these problems and to create meaningful programs that work for at-risk populations. Government change is often slow, yet professionals like Angela Perri are capable of providing workable and efficient solutions to modern day healthcare woes.
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