As the capacity of inpatient psychiatric units has diminished over the last several decades, patients with severe mental health conditions have been forced to seek outpatient behavioral health options for to meet their care needs. Without the proper care, severe, unmanaged mental health needs can lead to unnecessarily high health care utilization and negatively impact employment and inter-personal relationships with family and friends.
One of the most successful treatment programs for this patient population is the Program of Assertive Community Treatment, or PACT program, founded in Wisconsin during the 1960s and 1970s to promote community-based, patient-centered care for the most highly acute population of mental health patients. Through a persistent, assertive treatment strategy, PACT team members develop personal relationships with their patients and assist them in developing and maintaining an unprecedented level of independence.
Throughout the years, providers in other parts of the country have adopted the program. At Oklahoma University-Tulsa, PACT has seen considerable improvements in both patient health and health system spending. In addition, program administrators report improved patient relationships with family and friends, as well as reduced legal trouble and substance abuse issues. Lastly, many participants in PACT maintain semi-independent living status, gainful employment, and decreased reliance on government support programs.