Opportunities for Integrating Physical Health Within Assertive Community Treatment Teams: Results from Practitioner Focus Groups

Piper S. Meyer-Kalos, Michael G. Lee, Lynette M. Studer, Tanya A. Line, Colleen M. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This qualitative study assessed the experiences of assertive community treatment (ACT) team members regarding the integration of physical and mental health self-management for persons with serious mental illness. Three focus groups elicited information from participants concerning barriers, strategies, and recommendations. Findings from inductive analyses revealed six overarching themes: (1) collaboration with primary care, (2) improvements in engagement, (3) team-focused roles, (4) education and training, (5) recommendations for system level barriers, and (6) systems collaboration. Participant recommendations suggest that ACT teams are well positioned to integrate mental and physical health treatment, but further research is needed to support integrated care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported through funding from the Medicaid Adult Quality Measures grant program outlined under the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 93.609 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Funding Information:
Attempting to address the prevalence of comorbidity and early mortality among this population, the State of Minnesota made a commitment in 2011 to attempt to extend the lifespan of individuals with SMI by 10 years within 10 years (Trangle et al. ). The Minnesota project, named the “10 by 10,” was funded by a Transformation Transfer Initiative grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and aimed to accelerate the integration of primary care into Minnesota’s 26 ACT teams statewide. As a starting point, stakeholders identified several target health measures (e.g., body mass index, alcohol and tobacco use, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar), which were incorporated into the overall goal of annual physicals for every ACT client. The 10 by 10 initiative included several key actions: (1) a determination of the baseline status of ACT/primary care integration; (2) the design and field testing of practical tools to be used in tracking key indicators of improved wellness; and (3) the development of strategies and procedures for using the 10 by 10 health data in statewide analyses.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Assertive community treatment
  • Chronic health problems
  • Comorbidity
  • Integrated care
  • Serious mental illness


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