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Protecting The Public Interest: Issues In Contracting Managed Behavioral Health Care

Author: JULIA ROBINSON and THOMAS CLAY
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 23 No. 3

In recent years, state governments have begun contracting out behavioral
health care to large managed for-profit organizations. This approach to
mental health service delivery has resulted in realignment in roles for
both state agencies and the managed care organizations. Overnight,
state agencies have been transformed into contract managers of
multi-million dollar capitated health plans. Managed care companies,
in turn, moving into the public-sector market must adjust their service
delivery to include key concepts of public interest involvement such as
consumer input, public comment, and outreach. This article analyzes
three public-sector transitions. Common issues in these transformations
are used as a springboard for identifying key concerns which states
need to monitor when developing managed care contracts.

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