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Health Aff (Millwood). 1999 Sep-Oct;18(5):71-88.

The value of mental health care at the system level: the case of treating depression.

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  • 1Harvard Medical School, USA.


The value of mental health services is regularly questioned in health policy debates. Although all health services are being asked to demonstrate their value, there are special concerns about this set of services because spending on mental health care has grown markedly over the past twenty years. We propose a method for using administrative data to develop a comprehensive assessment of value for mental health care, which we call systems cost-effectiveness (SCE). We apply the method to acute-phase treatment of depression in a large insured population. Our results show that SCE of treatment for depression has improved during the 1990s.

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