Evaluating mental health care and policy in Spain.
ABSTRACT The reform and expansion of mental health care (MHC) systems is a key health policy target worldwide. Evidence informed policy aims to make use of a wide range of relevant data, taking into account past experience and local culture and context.
To discuss the organisation, provision and financing of MHC in Spain visa vis the goals of recent psychiatric reforms.
We draw upon existing literature, reports and empirical data from regional and national health plans, as well as European reports pertinent to Spain. In addition we have made use of iterative discussion by an expert panel on the features of Spanish MHC services, namely its history, characteristics and determinants in comparison to reforms in other European health systems.
In contrast to most other European health systems, the Spanish case reveals that political regional devolution leads to a greater heterogeneity in MHC systems, with some of the 17 autonomous communities (ACs) or region states that make up the country moving more rapidly to full de-institutionalisation alongside coverage expansion and policy innovation. There remains a lack of specific earmarked budgets for MHC at a time of under-funding. There has been an imbalance in MHC reforms, with more focus on the principles underpinning the process of de-institutionalisation and less on the actual development of alternative community based mental health services. Moreover there has been a lack of monitoring of the reform process. Common to other countries, attempts to develop a more informed evidence policy have been hampered by a dislocation between the production of research evidence and the timing of actual policy reform implementation.
Much of the focus of policy attention is on how to improve coordination within and across sectors, tackle socioeconomic inequalities and thus reduce the gap between perceived and observed need while monitoring any trends suggesting trans-institutionalisation. Other issues include developing and strengthening services to meet the needs of new migrants, as well as those of the rural population. There is also a growing recognition of the need to strengthen the evidence base both through research capacity and mechanisms to encourage the use of health economic information as one key component in the assessment of the system.
The evolution of MHC in Spain may be regarded as a useful contextual case study for other countries embarking on reform, including some in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Spain is an example of a country that has undergone substantial economic and democratic transition in a short time frame; it has seen significant economic growth in some areas and has experienced mass immigration. While it is too early to judge the effectiveness of reforms in Spain, work to date clearly indicates some of the challenges that have to be overcome. These include better harmonisation and integration between health and social care, and more attention paid to the development or monitoring mechanisms to assess progress in reform implementation and better identify any widening of geographical disparities.
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ABSTRACT: Background: Brain disorders represent a high burden in Europe and worldwide. The objective of this study was to provide specific estimates of the economic costs of brain disorders in Spain, based on published epidemiological and economic evidence. Methods: A cost-of-illness study with a societal perspective of 19 brain disorders was carried out. Cost data published between 2004 and 2012 was obtained from a systematic literature review. Direct healthcare, direct non-medical and indirect costs were considered, prioritizing bottom-up information. All costs were converted to Euro and to year 2010. The missing values were imputed with European estimates. Sensitivity analyses based on qualitative assessment of the literature and on a Monte Carlo simulation were performed. Results: The review identified 33 articles with information on costs for 11 disorders (8 neurological, 3 mental). The average per-patient cost ranged from 36,946 (sic) for multiple sclerosis to 402 (sic) for headache. The societal cost of the 19 brain disorders in Spain in 2010 was estimated in 84 (sic) billion. Societal costs ranged from 15 (sic) billion for dementia to 65 (sic) million for eating disorders. Mental disorders societal cost were 46 (sic)billions (55% of the total), while neurological disorder added up to 38 (sic) billion. Healthcare costs represented 37% of the societal costs of brain disorders, whereas direct non-medical constituted 29% and indirect costs 33%. Conclusion: Brain disorders have a substantial economic impact in Spain (equivalent to almost 8% of the country's GDP). Economic data on several important brain disorders, specially mental disorders, is still sparse.PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105471. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105471 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has been associated with an intensive use of health resources and a high economic burden. The aim of this study is to analyze the use of mental healthcare resources by BPD patients, to identify the information gaps on BPD at the regional health databases and to describe specific indicators and patterns of care utilization by persons with BPD in order to guide evidence-informed policy planning in Catalonia (Spain). A multi-level cross-design synthesis approach was applied following a mixed quantitative-qualitative analysis to estimate the regional service utilisation of patients with BPD. This framing analysis included estimates based on all available data on the use of services combined with prior expert knowledge gathered through a nominal group of key stakeholders in this field. The estimated year prevalence of BPD was 0.7% but only 9.6% of all BPD patients in Catalonia had any contact with the health care system. Of those, less than half contacted mental health care. BPD represented 1.7% of the total care load in the community mental health centres. A significant information gap was identified in all the official databases and impeded their direct use for planning and resource allocation in BPD. Expert knowledge was required to estimate rates of care utilization at every level of care system (primary care, specialized outpatient care and hospital care). Nevertheless the high pattern of care utilization identified at the databases was accurate according to the experts. Detection of BPD was lower than expected in the local, regional and national databases and registries of Catalonia. Local data was judged highly inaccurate by experts in comparison to data available on other mental disorders in the same databases. Specific incentives should be implemented to improve the availability and accuracy of information on BPD at the regional databases. When present, BPD should be coded before other psychiatric disorders in clinical records and health databases. Mental health surveys and psychiatric epidemiological studies should specifically incorporate BPD in their inclusion criteria and further studies on the utilisation pattern of this disorder are needed, both locally and internationally.The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics 03/2015; 18(1):17-25. · 0.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Introduction The available information on the cost of illness of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is overtly insufficient for policy planning. Our aim was to estimate the costs of illness for BPD in Catalonia (Spain) for 2006. Methods This is a multilevel cross-design synthesis study combining a qualitative nominal approach, quantitative ‘top-down’ analysis of multiple health databases, and ‘bottom-up’ data of local surveys. Both direct and indirect costs have been estimated from a governmental and societal perspective. Results Estimated year-prevalence of BPD was 0.7% (41,921 cases), but only 9.6% of these cases were treated in the mental health system (4033 cases). The baseline of the total cost of BPD in Catalonia was 45.6 million €, of which 15.8 million € (34.7%) were direct costs related to mental health care. The cost distribution was 0.4% in primary care; 4% in outpatient mental health care; 4.7% in hospitalisation; 0.7% in emergency care; and 24.9% in pharmacotherapy. Additionally, the cost of drug addiction treatment for persons with BPD was 11.2%; costs associated with sheltered employment were 23.9% and those of crime and justice were 9.7%. Indirect costs – including temporary sick leave and premature death (suicide) – represented 20.5% of total costs. The average annual cost per patient was 11,308 €. Conclusions An under-reporting of BPD was identified by the experts in all health databases and official registries. Most of the BPD costs were not related to mental health care. Amongst the direct cost categories, pharmacotherapy had the largest proportion despite the lack of specificity for BPD. This distribution of costs reinforces the idea of BPD complexity related to an inadequate and inefficient use of health resources.European Psychiatry 09/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2014.07.001 · 3.21 Impact Factor