Date of Conferral





Health Services


Michael Furukawa


Serious mental illness (SMI) affects 5% of the United States population and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Use of high-cost healthcare services is common, including hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits. Integrating behavioral and physical healthcare may improve care for consumers with SMI, but prior research findings have been mixed. This quantitative retrospective cohort study addressed the impact of integrated care on physical health and ambulatory care sensitive (ACS) utilization via a program evaluation of an integrated health clinic (IHC) at a community mental health center (CMHC). The research questions assessed whether there was a predictive relationship between IHC enrollment and physical health and ACS-specific service utilization for consumers with SMI when controlling for demographic characteristics and disease severity. Secondary administrative healthcare data, including authorization and electronic medical record data, were provided by the CMHC. Logistic regressions assessed the odds of experiencing an inpatient admission or ED visit before or after IHC enrollment; the predictive relationship between IHC enrollment and service utilization was assessed using multiple linear and Poisson regression analyses. There was no statistically significant impact of integrated care clinic enrollment on physical health or ACS-specific utilization. The sample had lower levels of physical health utilization than would have been expected. In terms of positive social change, results may help the CMHC assess the IHC program, overall clinic success, and use of data. Since policy and payment structures continue to support integrated care models, further research on different programs are encouraged, as each setting and practice pattern is unique.