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Am J Psychiatry. 1988 May;145(5):543-53.

Privatization of psychiatric services.

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Harvard University Division of Health Policy Research and Education, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA 02138.


The authors provide an overview of privatization, a major trend in mental health policy, focusing in particular on the reasons for and consequences of substantial growth and change in ownership of private psychiatric hospitals; the proportion of all nonfederal psychiatric inpatient beds in private facilities has increased from less than 10% in 1970 to 35% today. It is estimated that between 1970 and 1986, the proportion of total nonfederal psychiatric inpatient beds in the United States that were under corporate for-profit auspices increased from about 1% to 15%. The authors distinguish and examine several aspects of privatization and assess the implications of these changes for psychiatry and for public policy and research.

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