Robbing Peter to pay Paul: did New York State's outpatient commitment program crowd out voluntary service recipients?
ABSTRACT This study examined whether New York State's assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) program disadvantaged voluntary service recipients by directing services toward court-ordered individuals.
Administrative data from the New York State Office of Mental Health were linked with Medicaid claims from 1999 through 2007 to compare trends in utilization of enhanced outpatient services by involuntary and voluntary service recipients with serious mental illness. Multivariable time series analysis was used to examine the likelihood that voluntary care seekers (N=3,295) either did not initiate or did not receive assertive community treatment or intensive case management during any month as a function of the number of AOT orders in the system.
New York State appropriated new resources for enhanced community-based mental health services to implement AOT. During the first three years of the AOT program, most of the expansion in enhanced services was directed toward individuals under court-ordered treatment, which appears to have affected voluntary care seekers by lowering their odds of initiating enhanced services and raising their odds of having these services discontinued or no longer receiving them. However, after the first three years of AOT, enhanced service provision expanded steadily among both voluntary and involuntary recipients.
In tandem with New York's AOT program, enhanced services increased among involuntary recipients, whereas no corresponding increase was initially seen for voluntary recipients. In the long run, however, overall service capacity was increased, and the focus on enhanced services for AOT participants appears to have led to greater access to enhanced services for both voluntary and involuntary recipients.
Current Psychiatry Reports 03/2014; 16(3):435. DOI:10.1007/s11920-013-0435-7 · 3.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Since 2006, California's Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) has distributed an estimated $6 billion in new tax revenues to county mental health systems. Although evaluations of MHSA's effectiveness find favorable outcomes among high-risk individuals that represent 6% of all mental health clients, scant research has tested whether MHSA funds improve the overall functioning of the public mental health system. The authors analyzed whether the incidence of voluntary emergency psychiatric visits, a key gauge of the functioning of the mental health system, fell below expected levels after the disbursement of MHSA funds. Los Angeles County, the most populous county in California, was examined. The authors obtained the monthly incidence of emergency psychiatric visits among Medi-Cal patients for 96 months spanning July 2000 to June 2008 (5.9 million overall admissions, of which 47,328 were emergency visits). Time-series methods controlled for temporal patterns in emergency visits as well as other potential confounders (unemployment, for example) that could induce spurious associations. The incidence of voluntary psychiatric emergencies fell below expected levels eight to 12 months after the disbursement of MHSA funds. After one year, emergency visits returned to their long-term mean level. Results remained robust after analyses controlled for outliers and potential confounders. In the short term, an infusion of public funds devoted to mental health services appeared to reduce psychiatric emergency visits. Explanations for the transient nature of the decline in emergency visits in Los Angeles County are discussed.Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 06/2012; 63(8):808-14. DOI:10.1176/appi.ps.201100372 · 1.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE The authors assessed a state's net costs for assisted outpatient treatment, a controversial court-ordered program of community-based mental health services designed to improve outcomes for persons with serious mental illness and a history of repeated hospitalizations attributable to nonadherence with outpatient treatment. METHOD A comprehensive cost analysis was conducted using 36 months of observational data for 634 assisted outpatient treatment participants and 255 voluntary recipients of intensive community-based treatment in New York City and in five counties elsewhere in New York State. Administrative, budgetary, and service claims data were used to calculate and summarize costs for program administration, legal and court services, mental health and other medical treatment, and criminal justice involvement. Adjusted effects of assisted outpatient treatment and voluntary intensive services on total service costs were examined using multivariate time-series regression analysis. RESULTS In the New York City sample, net costs declined 50% in the first year after assisted outpatient treatment began and an additional 13% in the second year. In the five-county sample, costs declined 62% in the first year and an additional 27% in the second year. Psychotropic drug costs increased during the first year after initiation of assisted outpatient treatment, by 40% and 44% in the city and five-county samples, respectively. Regression analyses revealed significant declines in costs associated with both assisted outpatient treatment and voluntary participation in intensive services, although the cost declines associated with assisted outpatient treatment were about twice as large as those seen for voluntary services. CONCLUSIONS Assisted outpatient treatment requires a substantial investment of state resources but can reduce overall service costs for persons with serious mental illness. For those who do not qualify for assisted outpatient treatment, voluntary participation in intensive community-based services may also reduce overall service costs over time, depending on characteristics of the target population and local service system.American Journal of Psychiatry 07/2013; 170(12). DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12091152 · 13.56 Impact Factor