Article

Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 321-340

First online:

Overview Of Publicly Funded Managed Behavioral Health Care

  • Mardi ColemanAffiliated withUMass Center for Health Policy and Research Email author 
  • , William SchnappAffiliated withUniversity of Texas Medical School
  • , Debra HurwitzAffiliated withUMass Center for Health Policy and Research
  • , Sabine HedbergAffiliated withUMass Center for Health Policy and Research
  • , Linda CabralAffiliated withUMass Center for Health Policy and Research
  • , Aniko LaszloAffiliated withUMass Center for Health Policy and Research
  • , Jay HimmelsteinAffiliated withUMass Center for Health Policy and Research

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Abstract

Using MEDLINE and other Internet sources, the authors perform a systematic review of published literature. A total of 109 articles and reports are identified and reviewed that address the development, implementation, outcomes, and trends related to Managed behavioral health care (MBHC). MBHC remains a work in progress. States have implemented their MBHC programs in a number of ways, making interstate comparisons challenging. While managed behavioral health care can lower costs and increase access, ongoing concerns about MBHC include potential incentives to under-treat those with more severe conditions due to the nature of risk-based contracting, the tendency to focus on acute care, difficulties assuring quality and outcomes consistently across regions, and a potential cost-shift to other public agencies or systems. Success factors for MBHC programs appear to include stakeholder involvement in program and policy development, effective contract development and management, and rate adequacy.

Key words

managed behavioral health care managed behavioral health care organizations Medicaid