Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 307-328

First online:

Organization of mental health care in HMOs

  • Douglas WholeyAffiliated withDept. of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
  • , Jon ChristiansonAffiliated withInstitute for Health Services Research at the University of Minnesota
  • , Maureen PetersonAffiliated withHealthPartners, Inc.

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This article examines the relationship between the basic structure of a health maintenance organization's delivery system and its organization of mental health services. The conclusion is that the organization of mental health services is strongly influenced by whether the HMO is organized as a group-based delivery system or as a contractually-linked set of independent providers. In addition, larger HMOs of all types are more likely to contract for mental health services, as are HMOs in more competitive markets.