Moving toward integrated health: an opportunity for social work

Soc Work Health Care. 2015;54(5):383-407. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2015.1025122.


With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and ongoing health care reform efforts, this is a critical time for the social work profession. The approaches and values embedded in health care reform are congruent with social work. One strategy is to improve care for people with co-morbid and chronic illnesses by integrating primary care and behavioral health services. This paper defines integrated health and how the PPACA promotes integrated health care through system redesign and payment reform. We consider how social workers can prepare for health care reform and discuss the implications of these changes for the future of the profession.

Keywords: behavioral health; health care reform; integrated health care; mental health services; primary care; workforce training.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / economics
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards
  • Cultural Competency
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / trends
  • Electronic Health Records / standards
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / economics
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services / economics
  • Mental Health Services / standards
  • Mental Health Services / trends
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act / economics
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act / standards*
  • Primary Health Care / economics
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Primary Health Care / trends
  • Social Work / methods
  • Social Work / standards*
  • Social Work / trends
  • United States