Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 463-473

Emergency care avoidance: Ethnic matching and participation in minority-serving programs

  • Lonnie R. SnowdenAffiliated withSchool of Social Welfare, University of California
  • , Teh-wei HuAffiliated withSchool of Social Welfare, University of California
  • , Jeanette M. JerrellAffiliated withSanta Clara County Mental Health Services Research Center

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Using data from a county level mental health service system, relationships were examined between ethnic matching, program involvement and emergency service use. When clients were matched with an ethnically similar clinician who was also proficient in their preferred language, they had fewer emergency service visits than did clients who were unmatched on the basis of ethnicity and language. Equally if not more significant than ethnicity or language matching was the client's program and the proportion of minority clients it served. Clients in programs serving a relatively large proportion of minority clients had fewer emergency service visits than those in programs serving a smaller proportion of minority clients. More research is needed to document the impact of matching along with greater attention to minority oriented programs.