The number of Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) providing specialty mental health services remains limited. This study examined changes in the delivery of mental health services by RHCs, their operational characteristics, barriers to the development of services, and policy options to encourage more RHCs to deliver mental health services. Key Findings: Approximately 6% of independent and 2% of provider-based RHCs offer mental health services by doctoral-level psychologists and/or clinical social workers. Models used to provide mental health services include contracted and/or employed clinicians housed in the same facility as primary care providers. A key element in the development of mental health services is the presence of an internal champion (typically clinicians or senior administrators) who identify the need for and undertake implementation of services, help overcome internal barriers, and direct resources to the development of services.
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
Provision of Mental Health Services by Rural Health Clinics
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