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In 1992 Georgia embarked on an ambitious reform of its public mental health system. Regional mental health authorities were created with consumers and family members as decision makers. Reform legislation required that hospital and community funds be combined to provide for flexible shifting of funds to communities as use of state hospitals decreased. However, after four years and at a cost of almost $15 million, few tangible results can be demonstrated. In fact, hospital admissions have increased since 1991. Further, a proposal for a Medicaid section 1115 waiver that would permit managed care organizations to assume responsibility for key decisions threatens to undermine the decision-making authority of regional mental health authorities. This paper summarizes the background leading to Georgia's reform, reviews its accomplishments, and suggests lessons to be gained from Georgia's experiences. (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