[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article presents a methodology to estimate the size and cost of eliminating unmet need for substance abuse treatment services among adults who have clinically significant substance use disorders, and applies the approach to Massachusetts' information. Unmet treatment needs were derived using a statewide household telephone survey of 7,251 Massachusetts residents aged 19 and older conducted in 1996-1997, and an index of treatment mix and cost information from state and Medicaid financial data. The study estimates that 39,450 adult state residents (0.81% of the total sample) had a clinically significant past-year substance use disorder, but had not received treatment in the past year. Providing substance abuse treatment and outreach services to them would have required an additional cost of approximately 109 million dollars (17 dollars per capita), of which the state's payer of last resort, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS), would need to fund 31 million dollars (5 dollars per capita). The share paid by BSAS (28%) would represent an increase of 42% over its current spending. This paper quantifies an important but sometimes overlooked objective of managed care: to improve access for substance abusers who need but do not seek treatment.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2005 · Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research