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Managed Care is Harmful to Outpatient Mental Health Services: A Call for Accountability
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Substantial evidence indicates that managed care is harmful to outpatient mental health services. The thesis is presented that two underlying causes of these harmful effects are (1) inappropriately focusing on cutting outpatient mental health expenses and (2) dramatically reducing outpatient services as a result of managed care economics. Due to the reduced services, it is likely that treatment quality will suffer as well. The probably negative results are as follows: denying services to many who need treatment, systematically undertreating the clients who are served, and denying psychologically necessary longer term treatment to those with moderate to severe problems. To protect against these dangers, it is recommended that managed care be held accountable for reporting its economic efficiency and the quantity of services provided. Because of the inherent weaknesses in managed care, alternative cost-control strategies are suggested. (Author)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services