7 out of 10 US Adults with Behavioral Health Conditions Are Not Receiving Treatment

Image: iStockphoto/AlenaPaulus

According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), of the estimated 56.9 million US adults with a behavioral health condition, 7 out of 10—or 39.7 million adults—are not receiving treatment for their conditions.

A staggering 92% of adults with substance use conditions are not receiving treatment. For those with serious mental illness and other mental illnesses, the rates of nontreatment are 33% and 65%, respectively. The survey indicated several reasons why individuals were not receiving treatment, including lack of perceiving a need for treatment, cost, stigma and challenges to accessing care.

A follow-up report published by the Government Accountability Office earlier this year investigated the link between untreated behavioral health conditions and other healthcare costs. The authors reviewed 29 studies that compared the healthcare costs associated with treating and not treating certain behavior health conditions in adults and found that the majority (20) demonstrated higher overall healthcare costs associated with untreated adults. Six studies found lower healthcare costs associated with untreated adults, while three showed either mixed results or no observable difference. However, the report also noted that available research in this area is limited by methodological challenges, including determining which healthcare costs can be attributed to an untreated behavioral condition.

“These people are not receiving the care they so desperately need,” says Omar Manejwala, M.D., chief medical officer at Catasys, a leading AI and technology-enabled healthcare company. “This impacts their health, their families, their work life and the overall cost of care. Not addressing this is unconscionable.” 

Catasys is partnering with leading national and regional health plans to address the hidden, high-cost problem of untreated behavioral health conditions that exacerbate chronic medical conditions. This population is reached using a three-pronged approach: 1) identify members with untreated behavioral health conditions and impactable costs using advanced analytics and proprietary predictive modeling; 2) engage them by leveraging persistent, multitouch enrollment capabilities built on deep insights into the drivers of care avoidance and establishing trust; and 3) provide a high-touch, “fingerprinted” treatment program through Catasys’ integrated, technology-enabled OnTrak™ solution.

OnTrak is designed specifically to engage members with untreated behavioral conditions that cause or exacerbate co-existing medical conditions—such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, COPD, and congestive heart failure—and that result in high medical costs.

OnTrak integrates evidence-based psychosocial and medical interventions delivered either in-person or via telehealth, along with care coaching and in-market Community Care Coordinators who address the social determinants of health. The program improves member health and delivers validated cost savings to healthcare payers of more than 50% for enrolled members.

Click to learn more about how Catasys helps healthcare payers reduce the high costs associated with untreated behavioral health conditions that worsen chronic medical disease.

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