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Article   |    
Screening CMHC Outpatients for Physical Illness
David A. Bartsch; David L. Shern; Lawrence E. Feinberg; Barbara B. Fuller; A. Brock Willett
Psychiatric Services 1990; doi:
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The authors thank the staffs at the Adams Community Mental Health Center and the Southeastern Colorado Family Guidance and Mental Health Center.

Colorado Division of Mental Health, 3520 West Oxford Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80236

Bureau of Survey and Evaluation Research of the New York State Office of Mental Health

Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

University of Colorado School of Nursing

Fort Logan Mental Health Center in Denver

1990 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

To assess the prevalence of physical disorders among outpatients treated in Colorado's public mental health system, a total of 175 patients from two community mental health centers received a comprehensive medical screening that included a standard physical examination and laboratory analyses. Of these patients, 46 percent had physical conditions or laboratory test results warranting further medical evaluation. A previously undiagnosed physical health problem was identified in 20 percent of the screened patients, and about 16 percent had conditions that could cause or exacerbate their mental disorder. The authors conclude that public mental health systems should ensure routine assessment of the physical health of psychiatric outpatients and suggest guidelines for developing medical screening procedures in public settings.

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