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Principles for Priority Setting in Mental Health Services and Their Implications for the Least Well Off
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Funding for mental health services has declined in recent years, posing the difficult challenge of setting program and individual client service priorities with reduced resources. The author reviews seven principles for resource allocation and their potential impact on people with severe and persistent mental illness. These principles address issues of the autonomy of individual health care needs; the need for client, stakeholder, and provider input into goal setting; cost-effectiveness; equity and fairness; client responsibility for making effective use of services; the impact of private industry on the development and marketing of new treatments; and the importance of considering local skill availability and population needs in setting program priorities. Because none of these principles take precedence over the others, their joint application does not necessarily yield consistent program priorities. However, they provide a frame of reference for approaching the task of priority setting and for understanding why priorities may vary from different perspectives. (Author)
Psychiatric Services
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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