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Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Apr;30(4):730-6. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0268.

Analysis & commentary: The case for measuring quality in mental health and substance abuse care.

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  • 1Columbia University, New York City, NY, USA.


Over the past decade, efforts to measure and improve quality have permeated health policy and health care generally but have barely penetrated mental health and substance abuse care. We review barriers and recent activities in these areas and propose a short list of quality measures to engage the policy and practice community in a discussion about how best to evaluate the care of people with these conditions. Quality measures could include, for example, screening, brief intervention, and referral for alcohol abuse. Because proposing a list is only a first step, we suggest other elements of a broader strategy to bring mental health and substance use care into the mainstream of health care quality improvement.

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