CHA News Article

Report Examines Improving Behavioral Health Care for Low-Income Californians
May 13 webinar to discuss report findings

The Blue Shield of California Foundation has released a report that explores low-income Californians’ needs and preferences for behavioral health care. Titled Improving Behavioral Healthcare for Low-Income Californians, the report measures self-reported needs for behavioral health assistance, the service options available, individuals’ concerns and hesitations about using those services, and the factors that motivate them to seek help. Its findings reinforce previous research on the benefits of integrating mental health and substance use disorder services into the primary care setting. 

Key report findings include:

  • A broad gap exists between needs and treatment. Among low-income Californians who have felt a need to discuss behavioral health issues with a health care professional in the past year, only half have done so.
  • Patients’ interest in receiving behavioral health services at their primary care facility far exceeds the availability of such services. Many more say it is highly important that their facilities provide these services than say they currently have access to them. And six in 10 would rather discuss behavioral health issues with a professional at their primary care facility than with one located off site.
  • Comparatively few low-income Californians, 52 percent, rate their primary care providers highly for asking about stress, anxiety or emotional issues they may have.
  • Behavioral health services are an element of a patient-centered approach. Patients who have such services available are much more apt than others to feel that someone at their care facility knows them well (known as connectedness); to see the same care providers over time (continuity); and to have strong patient-provider relationships overall. These, in turn, enhance patient satisfaction and loyalty, and encourage patients to take an active role in their care.

An accompanying webinar May 13 from 11 a.m. to noon (PT) will highlight findings from the report. To register for the webinar visit the online registration site.