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Background: Interprofessional (IP) care teams that bring together health care providers from multiple disciplines can provide a broader scope of services and enhance efficiency so as to increase availability of providers. The use of IP teams may be of particular benefit for Medicaid enrollees who experience difficulty accessing care given socioeconomic barriers and limited provider availability. However, IP training is critical to ensure that health and social service providers understand their roles on these teams. Our study sought to understand the benefits and challenges of IP training programs, including how such programs could help improve access to health care for underserved populations.
Methods: We conducted a qualitative study across 10 health care organizations where IP training programs had been implemented. Learners, preceptors, and program staff were interviewed and asked about the structure of the programs, individual roles within the programs, and satisfaction with the programs. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using rigorous qualitative methods.
Results: Two types of IP training programs were identified: those offering a specific program that integrated behavioral health and primary care, and those offering a general program that included multiple types of providers. Benefits of IP training included expanded access to primary care providers, increased ability to deliver ‘whole person care’ that addressed social determinants of health, and improved support across disciplines. Challenges included navigating logistics of integrating IP trainees into a program, changing expectations about approaches to IP care delivery, technology issues, and funding.
Conclusions: IP training programs can increase access to care for Medicaid enrollees and improve primary care delivery by increasing the number of trained providers and improving the capacity of organizations to deliver care that addresses social determinants of health. Addressing challenges around logistics, technology, and funding can help IP training programs succeed and sustain their efforts to improve care for Medicaid enrollees.
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