Resources for Healthcare Providers
Why Refer Patients for Behavioral Health Services?

In many ways, the reasons for referring patients to a Behavioral Health or Mental Health specialist are the same as the reasons for other referrals to other specialists. Patients often present with problems for which consultation or referral to a specialist can be quite useful.

Effective treatment is now available for a wide range of problems including stress management, anxiety disorders, depression, alcoholism and substance abuse, hypochondriasis, insomnia, recurrent headaches, coping with chronic pain, relationship problems, etc. However, for many Behavioral Health problems, effective treatment requires specialized knowledge and techniques.

Also, many physicians face increasing pressure to see a high volume of patients. When the average primary care office visit is 12 to 15 minutes, this limits the physician's ability to deal effectively with time-consuming psychosocial issues.

But I would prefer to stay personally involved in my patient's care...

This is an excellent idea. There are many behavioral health and mental health conditions where active involvement on the part of the primary care physician or other health care professionals is invaluable. If you have the training and the time to provide treatment yourself, this has many advantages. If a referral is necessary, this need not mean that you relinquish all involvement in the patient's care.

The ideal way to handle this issue is for behavioral health and/or mental health professionals to be physically located in medical practices and to function as active participants in the treatment team. This makes it much easier to obtain consultation, coordinate treatment, and maintain continuity of care.

Many mental health professionals are not accustomed to working in medical settings, and it may take a little effort to locate appropriate professionals and to work out a workable arrangement. However, this can provide substantial advantages for physicians and patients.

If you are located in the Cleveland metropolitan area and you would like to explore the possibility of having Behavioral Health and Mental health services provided within your setting, contact James Pretzer, Ph.D., FACT at jimpretz@sbcglobal.net or 216-831-2500.

24400 Highpoint Road, Suite 9   |   Beachwood, Ohio 44122   |   Phone: (216) 831-2500   |   Fax: (216) 831-4035

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