Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Transformation of Mental Health Care in America

Mental illness is a highly prevalent class of diseases with potentially debilitating affects. About 30% of Americans have a mental illness and almost half (46%) will have a mental illness at some time in their lives.  Examples of mental illness include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders. A paper by Glied and Frank (2016) summarizes the transformation […]

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The future of mental health?

Nature has an interesting article on how mobile technology is being used to treat mental illness. Estimates suggest that about 29% of people will experience a mental disorder in their lifetime1. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that many of those people — up to 55% in developed countries and 85% in developing […]

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Antidepressant coverage in the Health Insurance Exchange plans

The most common drug class taken among patients aged 18-44 is an antidepressant. Furhter, these relatively young and healthy patients are likely to be the ones who enroll in healht plans within the health insurance exchanges.  The question is, how easily can patients access information about antidepressant coverage? According to a recent RWJ report, the […]

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The Cons of Restrictive Prior Authorization Policies

Dr Dana Goldman, a USC professor and partner at my employer–Precision Health Economics–explains how restrictive prior authorization policies can adversely affect the care patients with schizophrenia receive. 

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Depression Among the Elderly & Medicare Part D

How did the enactment of Medicare Part D affect the mental health of the elderly? This is the question Ayyagari and Shane attempt to answer in their recent JHE paper. The authors use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) between 2010 and 2010 to measure changes in depressive symptoms among patients aged 60-70. […]

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Why isn’t there more mental health drug innovation?

There have been a number of efforts emphasize the importance of mental health and put mental health treatments at the same level of respect as physical health.  For instance, there was the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 and also The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) , which: …requires group […]

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Disparities in Schizophrenia Care

Do African Americans and Latinos receive the same quality care as Caucasians?  This is the question asked by Horvitz-Lennon et al. (2014). Quality of Care Before one can answer this question, one first has to define what “quality care” means.  The authors use the following definition for pharmacological indicators: Any use of antipsychotic drugs, Conditional on […]

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The Decline of Mental Hospitals, 1950s

The movement of mental health care from mental hospitals to treatment in outpatient settings and nursing homes  began in the 1950s.  Here is how it happened. “The field of medicine where the ‘rediscovery of community’ found an immediately welcome reception was mental health services.  A movement away from mental hospitals had already begun in the […]

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Mental Health and Substance Abuse Spending

Although somewhat outdated, this report by Mark et al. (2007) provides a glimpse at trends in mental health and substance abuse (MHSA) spending. National expenditures for the treatment of MHSA disorders amounted to $121 billion in 2003, up from $70 billion in 1993.  The average annual rate of (5.6%) was somewhat slower than spending growth […]

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Do for-profit hospitals reduce safety net services?

Social safety net services are necessary, but often unprofitable for hospitals. Is the expansion of HMOs and for-profit hospitals jeopardizing these safety net servies? This is the question researcher Yu-Chu Shen investigates. To test this hypothesis, Shen examines how changes in the market share of HMOs and for-profit HMOs affects probability of shutting down following […]

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