The Dire Need for Integrated Behavioral Health in Chronic Care Management

Why we can’t wait any longer to deliver the holistic care that individuals need and deserve

As individuals with a chronic illness develop major behavioral health disorders, it is of the upmost importance for healthcare organizations to develop efficient and effective treatment plans with a holistic focus. According to the CDC, half of Americans live with a chronic illness and of that population one-third also live with an identified behavioral health condition. Millions of people suffer from a lack of integrated care they need to get better.


As shown in the infographic below, depression is a common co-occuring behavioral health disorder seen in patients who are already burdened with life-altering chronic diseases. Facing a chronic illness or a behavioral health disorder on its own can be debilitating and costly, and the all-too-common combination of the two are showing to place a strain on both patients and the health care system at large. 


The CDC reports that almost 75% of total dollars spent on national health care is to treat those who have chronic diseases, while The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that costs for mental health care reached $57.5 billion in a single year.   


One study found that those suffering from chronic diseases with co-occurring behavioral health disorders are 2-3 times more costly to the health care system than individuals who solely require treatment for a chronic disease. This pressing issue has already reached a boiling point before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, which will undoubtedly take a massive toll on the behavioral health of millions across the country.  Consequently, the need for collaborative, integrated care has never been greater; this new approach must be adopted to evolve and sustain our nation’s healthcare system and the individuals that it serves.   



Fortunately, health care providers and organizations that invest in increased adoption of personalized, integrated, measurement-based care into chronic care management efforts and programs are reporting positive outcomes while simultaneously reducing costs. 

In a follow up post, we’ll cover the various ways that healthcare organizations can seamlessly integrate behavioral health into chronic care treatment plans and see the same success in the lives of your individuals and the growth of your organization as you seek to serve the most vulnerable in your community. 


Click below to learn more about NeuroFlow’s approach to integrated behavioral health


NeuroFlow Partnership with Jefferson Health




  1. Masson CL, Barnett PG, Sees KL, et al. Cost and cost-effectiveness of standard methadone maintenance treatment compared to enriched 180-day methadone detoxification. Addiction. 2004;99(6):718‐726. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2004.00728.x
  2. CDC: Mental Health and Chronic Diseases 
  3. Guo T, Xiang YT, Xiao L, Hu CQ, Chiu HF… Wang G. (2015). Measurement-based care versus Standard care for major depression: A randomized controlled trial with blind raters. Am J Psychiatry; 172(10): 1004-13.
  4. Brodey BB, Cuffel B, McCulloch J, Tani S, Maruish M… Unützer J. (2005). The acceptability and effectiveness of patient-reported assessments and feedback in a managed behavioral healthcare setting. American Journal of Managed Care, 11: 774-780.
  5. Schoenbaum M, Miranda J, Sherbourne C, Duan N, Wells K. Costeffectiveness of interventions for depressed Latinos. J Ment Health Policy Econ 2004;7(2):69 –76.
  6. Lo Sasso AT, Rost K, Beck A. Modeling the impact of enhanced depression treatment on workplace functioning and costs: a cost-benefıt approach. Med Care 2006;44(4):352–8. 
  7. Unutzer J, Katon WJ, Fan M, et al. Long-term cost effects of collaborative care for late-life depression. Am J Manag Care 2008;14(2):95–100.
  8. Matalon A, Nahmani T, Rabin S, Maoz B, Hart J. A short-term intervention in a multidisciplinary referral clinic for primary care frequent attenders: description of the model, patient characteristics and their use of medical resources.Fam Pract. 2002;19(3):251‐256. doi:10.1093/fampra/19.3.251
  9. Tursi MF, von Werne Baes C, de Barros Camacho FR, de Carvalho Tofoli SM, Juruena MF. (2013). Effectiveness of psychoeducation for depression: A systematic review. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 47(11), 1019–1031.
  10. Khoury B, Sharma M, Rush SE, Fournier C. (2015). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 78(6):519-528.
  11. Hofmann SG, Asnaani A, Vonk IJ, Sawyer AT, Fang A. The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses. Cognit Ther Res. 2012;36(5):427‐440. doi:10.1007/s10608-012-9476-1
  12. Unützer J, Katon W, Callahan CM, Williams JW, Hunkeler E… Langston C. (2002). Collaborative-care management of late-life depression in the primary care setting. JAMA, 288(22): 2836-45.
  13. Unutzer J, Katon WJ, Fan MY, et al. Long-term cost effects of collaborative care for late-life depression. Am J Manag Care. 2008;14(2):95‐100.
  14. Melek SP, Norris DT, Paulus J, Matthews K, Weaver A, Davenport S. (2018). Potential economic impact of integrated medical-behavioral healthcare: Updated projections for 2017. Available:
  15. NeuroFlow internal data (n > 37,000).
  16. Lewis CC, Boyd M, Puspitasari A, Navarro E, Howard J… Kroenke K. (2019). Implementing Measurement-Based Care in Behavioral Health: A Review. JAMA Psychiatry; 76(3): 324–335. 
  17. Kessler RC, Demler O, Frank RG, et al. Prevalence and Treatment of Mental Disorders, 1990 to 2003. N Engl J Med. June 16, 2005 2005;352(24):2515-2523.




Enter your keyword