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Psychiatr Hosp. 1990 Fall;21(4):165-70.

Directions in contracting for psychiatric services managed care firms.

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Preferred Health Care, Ltd., Wilton, CT.


An "irresistible force" has surely emerged in American healthcare; its name is Managed Care. It's a force embarked on an economic holy war, fired by the passions and anxieties of a competitive market economy that now seems uncommitted to spending more on health services. Its army is made up of an ununited confederation of utilization review organizations, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), exclusive provider organizations (EPOs), and a number of other entities that have been enlisted to restrain++ the medical-industrial complex. In their march across America, they have frequently assailed the shibboleths and established structures of treatment systems, especially psychiatry and often fought with one another. While some are mercenary forces, others appear as peoples' armies, committed to preserving and strengthening the healthcare system they are transforming. As it encounters the inhabitants of this domain, Managed Care becomes both their master and their slave. As with any occupying force, it must win their hearts and minds over to the new way of doing things. The winning-over process is not going well now. Many patients and providers are angry at the inefficiencies, unproven effectiveness, administrative burdens, affronts to traditions, and threats to quality sometimes posed by Managed Care. This collective unrest has resulted in both a mounting resistance to the problems emanating from managed care changes in the healthcare system and a call to check its unrestrained incursions into professional practice through regulation. The growing tension between what seems an irresistible force and an immovable object can be viewed as part of the natural evolution of all change, particularly in a free market or in a society with requisite checks and balances.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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