I recently had the opportunity to hear Mike Brose, CEO of Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, describe his organization’s innovative program: the mobile medical intervention team.

The team consists of a physician assistant, nurse and case manager who go into the community and address the mental and physical health needs of people who live in the nonprofit’s apartments.

The patients are people who have experienced chronic homelessness and have complicated histories of mental and physical illness. This integrated approach to health care is part of a national trend to improve overall well-being by fusing the previously siloed realms of behavioral health with medical treatment.

Across the country, the integrated, or collaborative, care model has been shown to strengthen health outcomes, improve patient and provider satisfaction and lower costs for financial stakeholders.

In Tulsa, the results of this integrated approach by the mobile medical intervention team include fewer emergency room visits, shorter hospital stays, more effective management of mental illness, lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk and increased hope.

Being diagnosed with cancer or multiple sclerosis, having a stroke or heart attack, or having another physical issue can all cause psychological distress.

Unchecked mental illness can likewise lead to physical disorders and decline. Integrating behavioral and medical treatment, addressing mind with body, makes sense across all health disciplines throughout our community and leads to whole health for all.

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to letters@tulsaworld.com.

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