Consultation-liaison psychiatry in the United States has had to reassess its priorities with the change in health care economics in the 80 s. Liaison programs and educational programs for primary care staff are jeopardized. The emphasis has shifted from liaison to reimbursable consultation activities. Hospital stays are shorter with emphasis on outpatient and prepaid settings. Less expensive health care professionals are often asked to see patients previously evaluated by psychiatrists. This paper will discuss the need for focused cost-effective liaison services in this climate. Funding strategies for consultation-liaison programs, models of staffing consultation-liaison services, continuity of care from inpatient to outpatient services, integration of consultation-liaison psychiatrists in prepaid health care settings, primary-care educational programs, and psychosocial intervention programs for high-risk primary-care patients will be discussed.

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