Enhancing the Value of Integrated Primary Care: The Role of Occupational Therapy

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Abstract

Primary care practice transformation is a priority in our rapidly evolving and complex health care system. Medical practices must maximize the use of staff to develop effective and efficient interprofessional care teams to optimize patient care delivery and improve outcomes and access with less cost. Occupational therapists have training and expertise that can provide valuable contributions to integrated primary care teams. In this article, we review the educational background and core competencies of this group of professionals and compare them to the core competencies of integrated behavioral health in primary care. Additionally, we explore the potential financial benefits of including occupational therapists as a member of the interprofessional team. With a comprehensive background addressing physical health, behavioral health, rehabilitation, and habilitation, occupational therapists complement the interprofessional team by dealing with the issues that affect function and quality of life. We recommend that primary care practices include occupational therapists as an essential member of the integrated primary care team.

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