There is evidence to suggest that people with serious mental illness (SMI) have lower access to tertiary care than patients without SMI, particularly when care is complex. Barriers are present at the level of the individual, providers, and the health care system. High levels of co-morbidity and the associated health care costs, along with a growing focus on facilitating equal access to quality care for all, urges health care systems to address existing gaps. Some interventions have been successful at improving access to primary care for patients with SMI, but relatively little research has focused on access to complex interventions. This paper summarizes the scope of the problem regarding access to complex tertiary medical care among people with SMI. Barriers are discussed and potential solutions are proposed. Policies and programs must be developed, implemented, and evaluated to determine cost-effectiveness and impact on outcomes.


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pp. 35-48
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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