September 24, 2010; Source: SAMHSA.gov | Really, the only reason why I am reporting this particular set of federal contracts is because the geographic array of awardees is so striking. Five of the 43 awardees are in California and six are in Florida. There are four more in New York, three each in Indiana and Texas, and two each in Rhode Island, Illinois, Washington and Pennsylvania. Thus just nine states (out of 51 if you count D.C., and we do) received more than two-thirds of the contracts.
The money in question is to help those who treat people with mental health or behavioral problems to integrate primary care services into their practices. The problem the money is set to address is well known: people with mental health and substance abuse problems are prone to chronic medical conditions so it makes sense to integrate the two but most of the conversation we have heard on this has been about how to integrate the mental health services into primary care clinics through cross training of providers. We’d love to hear what readers think about this program and the array of grantees.—Ruth McCambridge