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Health Aff (Millwood). 2003 Sep-Oct;22(5):110-6.

The 'quiet' crisis in mental health services.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA.


The failure of insurers and managed care organizations to reimburse providers of mental health services for the costs of care has led to a crisis in access to these services. Using the situation in Massachusetts as a case example, this paper explores the impact of this defunding. Unable to sustain continued losses, hospitals are closing psychiatric units, and outpatient services are contracting or closing altogether. The situation has been compounded by the withdrawal of many practitioners from managed care networks and cuts in public-sector mental health services. Unless purchasers demand effective coverage of mental health treatment, mental health services will likely continue to wither away.

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