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J Ment Health Adm. 1992 Fall;19(3):278-87.

Costs and use of public mental health services by ethnicity.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


This paper used data obtained from Santa Clara County, California, to study the costs and use of public mental health services among ethnic populations (Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites). The study had access to 12,436 unduplicated users of services. The study found Whites had the highest per capita costs, while Asians incurred the lowest. However, after controlling for other demographic characteristics, Asians incurred higher costs than Whites. This reversal of Whites and Asians occurred because cost distributions are more skewed for Whites than Asians. Asians had the highest median costs and Hispanics the lowest. The top 5% of users incurred about 50% of the total public mental health costs.

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