Integrating Mental Health and Substance Use Services


Grantmakers in Health

Funding Area

Integrating Mental Health and Substance Use Services


July 17, 2012


This Grantmakers in Health Bulletin article, authored by former NYHealth Senior Program Director Jacqueline Martinez Garcel and former NYHealth Chief Program Learning Officer Kelly Hunt, examines the lack of integrated care for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and how NYHealth has supported efforts to transform the systems of care for New Yorkers coping with both conditions.

Care for people with co-occurring conditions remains terribly fragmented. Three separate systems exist—health, mental health, and substance use services— to care for each individual problem, each one with its own set of norms, culture, regulations, reimbursement process, and accountability. These siloed systems of care have led to a revolving door for people seeking help.

To help transform the systems of care, NYHealth established the Center for Excellence in Integrated Care (the Center), the first-of-its-kind in New York State. As of the end of 2012, the Center has worked with more than 600 mental health and substance use outpatient sites to help them fully integrate services for patients with co-occurring disorders. The article looks at the approach and impact of integrating care across the two systems, the outcomes to date, and how this can be a model for care management teams.