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 Collaborative care programmes lead to better outcomes in the management of depression. A programme of this nature has demonstrated its effectiveness in primary care in Spain. Our objective was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this programme compared to usual care. Methods A bottom-up cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted within a randomized controlled trial (2007–2010). The intervention consisted of a collaborative care programme with clinical, educational and organizational procedures. Outcomes were monitored over a 12 months period. Primary outcomes were incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER): mean differences in costs divided by quality-adjusted life years (QALY) and mean differences in costs divided by depression-free days (DFD). Analyses were performed from a healthcare system perspective (considering healthcare costs) and from a society perspective (including healthcare costs plus loss of productivity costs). Results Three hundred and thirty-eight adult patients with major depression were assessed at baseline. Only patients with complete data were included in the primary analysis (166 in the intervention group and 126 in the control group). From a healthcare perspective, the average incremental cost of the programme compared to usual care was €182.53 (p<0.001). Incremental effectiveness was 0.045 QALY (p=0.017) and 40.09 DFD (p=0.011). ICERs were €4,056/QALY and €4.55/DFD. These estimates and their uncertainty are graphically represented in the cost-effectiveness plane. Limitations The amount of 13.6% of patients with incomplete data may have introduced a bias. Available data about non-healthcare costs were limited, although they may represent most of the total cost of depression. Conclusions The intervention yields better outcomes than usual care with a modest increase in costs, resulting in favourable ICERs. This supports the recommendation for its implementation.Journal of Affective Disorders 04/2014; 159:85–93. · 3.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: 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.PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105471. · 3.53 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; · 3.21 Impact Factor