Reference: Report from Medscape
Starting With Change Around the Edges
As nurses, we hold an ethical imperative to care for all who are ill. We aspire to be forces for social good. And we are educated in holistic and humanistic theories of “caring.” Yet most of us work in health care systems that operate from the medical model. Health care delivery is divided by specialty care that is intent on disease intervention and focuses on reductionist reasoning for many of the tasks we undertake daily. From this dominant paradigm, health professionals have a shared view that approaches the treatment of a person by separating mental and physical illness. In practice, maintaining this paradoxical distinction in our work as caregivers can be straining and can impede our efforts to do what is right for our patients, families, and communities. To be sure, the Affordable Care Act expanded mental health parity for all Americans by making it one of the essential health benefits. But the implementation of this parity is far from complete. One need only follow the many stories presented by the media regarding mental health issues to form a picture of a bleak, complex, and broken system. There is some accuracy in the dark side of this picture, but there is also hope. Parts of the system are innovating and changing how we care for the whole person. Some of this innovation and change rests on a vision of a more comprehensive health care system that will also support mental health integration. Two steps toward fulfilling this vision are underway: Treating the patient at the point of care where she or he is most comfortable and using teams of health care providers that can address social, economic, and culture differences to truly deliver a patient-centered approach to treatment and prevention. This type of good news seldom receives the same level of media attention. Thus, it is essential for those of us who work in health professions to recognize the good work individuals and organizations are doing to improve the delivery of mental health services in communities across the country.
To read a pdf of the complete report, please click here.