Integrating mental health services into primary care is the most viable way of closing the treatment gap and ensuring that people get the mental health care they need. Family physicians are an important and currently underutilized resource for improving access to mental health care. Primary care for mental health is affordable and cost effective, and results in good patient outcomes. The continuity of care inherent in family medicine makes early recognition of problems possible; by treating the whole family, they are often better able to recognize problems and provide interventions.
Results A total of 1 583 028 hospitalizations were used for analyses of 30-day mortality (mean [SD] patient age,  years; 621 412 men and 961 616 women) and 1 540 797 were used for analyses of readmission (mean [SD] patient age,  years; 602 115 men and 938 682 women). Patients treated by female physicians had lower 30-day mortality (adjusted mortality, % vs %; adjusted risk difference, –%; 95% CI, –% to –%; P < .001; number needed to treat to prevent 1 death, 233) and lower 30-day readmissions (adjusted readmissions, % vs %; adjusted risk difference, –%; 95% CI, –% to –%; P < .001; number needed to treat to prevent 1 readmission, 182) than patients cared for by male physicians, after accounting for potential confounders. Our findings were unaffected when restricting analyses to patients treated by hospitalists. Differences persisted across 8 common medical conditions and across patients’ severity of illness.