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Health Aff (Millwood). 1995 Fall;14(3):173-84.

Mental health/substance abuse treatment in managed care: the Massachusetts Medicaid experience.

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National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Training Program, Mental Health Services Research, Heller School, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA.


Massachusetts was the first state to introduce a statewide specialty mental health managed care plan for its Medicaid program. This study assesses the impact of this program on expenditures, access, and relative quality. Over a one-year period, expenditures were reduced by 22 percent below predicted levels without managed care, without any overall reduction in access or relative quality. Reduced lengths-of-stay, lower prices, and fewer inpatient admissions were the major factors. However, for one population segment--children and adolescents--readmission rates increased slightly, and providers for this group were less satisfied than they were before managed care was adopted. Less costly types of twenty-four-hour care were substituted for inpatient hospital care. This experience supports the usefulness of a managed care program for mental health and substance abuse services, and the applicability of such a program to high-risk populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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