Mental health services in the family physician's office: a Canadian experiment.
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This paper describes a program in Hamilton-Wentworth, Ontario, Canada, that brings mental health counselors and psychiatrists into the offices of 87 local family physicians, working in 35 practices serving 170,000 people. It outlines the organization of the mental health teams in the family physician's office and the way in which these teams are coordinated and discusses how this "shared care" approach can overcome many of the problems that traditionally bedevil the relationship between psychiatric services and family practices. It summarizes the benefits of this approach for patients providers and the health care system and looks at its implications for learners and for new approaches to continuing education. This model can be adapted to most communities.
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