An assessment of mental health and primary care physician provider's beliefs about needs for services

Rose Margaret Hochheiser (1996)

As health care reform continues to be an important topic for the United States, the issues of how to most effectively deliver mental health services for rural populations are in question. Although there are many important aspects of this problem that must be addressed, this study has been developed to obtain information from providers as "key informants" to assess their perceptions of the types of services needed for a quality, cost effective mental health system in the rural areas of our country. The "key informants", rural Vermont mental health and primary care physician providers, were surveyed to identify their perceptions of the barriers to care and the types of services and providers that will allow for quality mental health care for those individuals living in rural communities. Significant differences were found between the perceptions of the mental health and physician providers. These differences, if unresolved, have the potential to create barriers to a cost-effective high quality continuum of mental health services for the rural communities. Building on this information, additional research evaluating the perceptions of the recipients of care and the way mental health services are organized should be carried out before definitive policy decisions are made to solve the current problems of access, quality, and cost.