Use of Outpatient Mental Health Services Over Time in a Health Maintenance Organization and Fee-for-Service Plans

Published in: American Journal of Psychiatry, v. 144, no. 3, Mar. 1987, p. 283-287

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1987

by Willard G. Manning, Kenneth B. Wells, Bernadette Benjamin

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The authors compared the use of outpatient mental health services in a health maintenance organization (HMO) and fee-for-service plans over a 5-year period, using data from a randomized controlled trial. In any given year, enrollees in the HMO and a fee-for-service plan with identical benefits were equally likely to visit a mental health specialist. Over several years, the HMO enrollees were about 50% more likely ever to visit a mental health specialist; fee-for-service enrollees were more likely to receive mental health care in more than 1 study year.

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