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Gerontologist. 1994 Oct;34(5):674-9.

Mental health care for older adults in the year 2020: a dangerous and avoided topic.

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Psychiatric Services, Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710.


Low Medicare reimbursement rates are already causing some mental health professionals to turn away elderly patients, restricting access to care. Where will funds come from to pay for the mental health needs of older adults in the year 2020, when 80 million baby boomers pass age 65? This cohort, in contrast to elders today, have high rates of psychiatric illness, and are also much more likely than older adults to seek mental health services. Seemingly oblivious to these trends, plans are being made to cut, rather than expand, the Medicare budget. We are projecting an increasing gap over the next 25 years between need and availability of geriatric mental health services.

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