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Assessing the service linkages of substance abuse agencies with mental health and primary care organizations.

The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse

Humans, Interinstitutional Relations, Mental Health Services, organization & administration, Primary Health Care, Social Support, Substance-Related Disorders, rehabilitation, United States

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      Fragmentation of substance abuse treatment represents a major barrier to effective treatment for individuals with cooccurring substance abuse and mental and physical health disorders. Linkages of substance abuse treatment organizations with primary care and mental health agencies are widely considered to be a feasible way to integrate services. In this study, we analyzed information collected from a national sample of 62 outpatient substance abuse treatment units (OSATs) to understand the extent of services linkages in these organizations and to identify facilitators and barriers to service linkages. Results showed that OSATs had limited service linkages with primary care and mental health providers. The cited barriers to linkages included clients' financial problems, managed care restrictions, and limited organizational capacity. Onsite service provision was implemented in some OSATs. The pattern of service linkages in OSATs appeared to reflect the health needs of substance abuse clients.

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