Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 281-291

First online:

Ethnic differences in emergency psychiatric care and hospitalization in a program for the severely mentally ill

  • Lonnie R. SnowdenAffiliated withSchool of Social Welfare, University of CaliforniaCenter for Research on the Organization and Financing of Care for the Severely Mentally Ill, University of California at Berkeley
  • , Jane HolschuhAffiliated withResearch Training Program in Financing and Service Delivery in Mental Health in the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley

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Ethnic differences in rehospitalization were examined in a program of intensive services for severely mentally ill hospital recidivists. The purpose was to determine whether ethnicity-related differences in psychiatric admissions observed in national data would appear among clients at great risk for hospitalization but enrolled in a program of case-managed care to promote community adjustment and tenure. After accounting for differences in prior emergency visits and hospitalizations as well as sociodemographic and clinical differences, blacks were found more likely than whites to visit the psychiatric emergency room and to be hospitalized. The marked needs of the severely mentally ill and the intention to address these needs with services did not obviate the continuing importance of racial differences in explaining reliance on inpatient sources of care.