The effects of client-therapist match on service use and costs

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Abstract

The author explores the impact of ethnic matching between clients and their therapists or case managers on mental health service utilization and costs. Length of stay in outpatient and case management services of matched and unmatched clients was examined as well as the offset effect of this match on use of intensive and costly mental health services (inpatient, emergency, and skilled nursing facility). Matched clients had longer lengths of stay in outpatient but not case management services, and had significantly less utilization of all three intensive services. Annual cost savings to the system amounted to about $1,000 per matched client.