Knowledge about methods to retain community mental health (CMH) clients in integrated primary and behavioral health care (PBHC) programs is needed to address longstanding health disparities. A preexisting data set that contained the clinical records of 446 PBHC program participants was used to examine whether baseline sociodemographic, health, and psychosocial characteristics predicted retention in care at 6 months post-enrollment. Results indicated that less than half of PBHC participants (43.7%) were retained in care, and approximately 17% of the variance in retention was explained by the inclusion of seven predictors in the model (overall health, medications, laboratory data, primary care provider, disorder type, transportation, and living arrangement). Clients with thought disorders were almost twice as likely as those with mood disorders to be retained in care, and greater frequency of prescribed medications also increased the likelihood of treatment continuation (ORs = 1.99 and 1.20, respectively). Future research should identify factors that improve retention in integrated PBHC programs overall, and among persons with mood disorders, in particular.

Catherine M. Lemieux, Katherine A. Thomas, Chrisann M. Newransky, Hebah Khalifa & Amber R. Hebert
Journal of Social Service Research, 20 Apr 2018