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The use of managed care in public mental health systems is spreading, but few clear patterns have emerged. While a number of states continue to privatize their mental health systems through contracts with outside corporations, others are adopting the techniques of managed care by using designs tailored to the existing organization of their systems.

Although there is no one correct approach, the greatest successes to date have come when policymakers start with a vision of what goals they want the service system to achieve and then, engaging in comprehensive planning with stakeholder groups, use managed care to reach those goals. Managed care appears to be a useful and cutting-edge tool for achieving cost efficiency in a dynamic system while offsetting risks and protecting consumers.

This report addresses the need for accountability and effective management of public mental health systems and reviews policy issues that arise in adapting Medicaid managed care to adults and children who have serious mental disorders that need treatment. (Milbank)
New York, NY
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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