Date of Award
Master of Science in Social Work
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Integrated Care, under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aimed to reduce fragmented care for Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs) who depend on community-based centers for their health care needs. Well-defined by the World Health Organization, social determinants of health such as low socioeconomic status, low educational attainment, and housing instability often contribute to health disparities, making it difficult for MUPs to achieve optimal health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to gather preliminary data indicating the need to integrate a social work program at a Texas Federally Qualified Health Center using the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment Model and the PHQ-9 Depression Scale. Using a study sample of n=100, the findings suggest MUPs benefit from co-located care. Aggregated scores from the AUDIT report past or current drinking patterns (60%) and scores from the PHQ-9 indicate mild to severe depressive symptoms (56%). Of the 56% who reported having depressive symptoms, 33% went untreated during their first office visit accentuating the need to have treatment modalities focused on co-occurring diagnoses. Imperative to the field of social work is the adage, “meeting the client where they're at.” Medical social workers may need to assess a patient’s level of understanding of symptoms, concurrent diagnoses, and treatment options to increase commitment to retention care, compliancy, and recovery. Implications for social work practice, as well as, future research are also discussed.
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Fuentes, Irene, "Improving Integrated Care for Medically Underserved Patients at a Texas FQHC using SBIRT and PHQ-9" (2018). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 90.