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Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 May-Jun;28(3):649-59. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.3.649.

Trends in mental health cost growth: an expanded role for management?

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  • 1Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Mental health spending attracts attention from payers and policymakers. Historically, the public sector paid directly for a good deal of care, and special institutions and rules governed private-sector spending. During 1971-2002, spending on mental health care grew at much lower rates than spending on other health care. In recent years, the delivery and financing of mental health care have come to look more like those for general health care. We show that in spite of this convergence, important differences remain between general health and mental health care in patterns of spending growth.

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