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J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2007 Fall;27 Suppl 1:S26-32.

Disparities in depression care in managed care settings.

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Delaware Physicians Care, Inc., 252 Chapman Road, Suite 250, Newark, DE 19702, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2008 Summer;28(3):195-6.


The implementation of managed health care two decades ago produced sweeping changes in the delivery of health care. A large number of patients who have depression are cared for in managed care settings. Despite the fact that managed health care programs have offered the advantage of affordable and effective treatment of depression to many patients, racial and ethnic minorities remain underdiagnosed and undertreated. Diagnosis of depression, prescribing of antidepressant therapy, and referral for psychotherapy occur significantly less often in minority patients compared with whites. In the managed care setting, a number of issues at the physician level may negatively affect the quality of depression care, including attitudes toward psychiatry and mental health services, unfamiliarity with best practice guidelines for depression, and lack of cultural competency. On the other hand, a number of innovative approaches (eg, collaborative care) have demonstrated effectiveness in managed care settings. In some cases, physician education can be integrated with these approaches to assist health care providers in managed care organizations to provide the best possible depression care. This article focuses on issues relevant to depression care of minorities in the managed care sector, cites strategies for improving quality of depression care, and discusses implications for CME.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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