Severity of Illness Among Police-Escorted Psychiatric Emergency Room Patients Before and After the Implementation of a Regional, Public-Sector Managed Behavioral Health Care Program




Baller, Mary S.

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Managed behavioral health care organizations are growing, but the clinical impact of managed care policies is largely unknown. The following study examines the clinical characteristics of police-escorted patients seen in the psychiatric emergency room of a large public hospital in metropolitan Dallas. Samples of patients seen in 1996 and 2004 are compared to determine whether an increase in severity of illness is evident, which demographic groups have been most vulnerable to changes in the system of care, and whether patients have become more overtly dangerous. Increased severity of illness among police-escorted psychiatric emergency room patients may be interpreted as a kind of cost-shifting as law enforcement officers and patients react to the diminishment of mental health resources in the managed care era.

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