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Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy

Economics and Services Research

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We are conducting health services and economics research to ensure that delivery system and financing changes initiated under the Affordable Care Act and other local, state and national policy initiatives reduce the societal toll of mental illness and addiction.

Featured current research

State and Local Initiatives to Enroll Individuals in Medicaid in Criminal Justice Settings

Given the changing landscape of insurance eligibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the significant overlap between those newly eligible for Medicaid and the justice-involved population, many state and local jurisdictions have launched programs to enroll detained or incarcerated individuals in Medicaid. We designed an inventory to capture a national picture of the enrollment efforts that are taking place within these jurisdictions.

Implementation of Federal Mental Health Parity 

Under a grant from the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), Center faculty including Professors Barry, Stuart and McGinty are examining the impact of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity (MHPAE) Act on important outcomes including access to services, mental health care spending and utilization patterns, and care obtained out-of-network.

Only Half of Doctors Surveyed Use Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

State-based prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are a common policy tool intended to address prescription drug abuse and diversion. To be successful, health care providers must be aware of and use PDMPs.  Center faculty including Professors Rutkow and Alexander conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,000 primary care physicians in 2014 to characterize their attitudes, awareness, and experiences with PDMPs. Approximately three-quarters of respondents were aware of their state’s PDMP and one-half had used a PDMP. Respondents identified several barriers to use of PDMPs, such as the amount of time it takes to retrieve PDMP information and challenges associated with the format in which the information is provided.

Understanding Stigma and Financial Barriers to Accessing Behavioral Health Treatment

A large proportion of individuals with serious mental substance disorders never seek treatment, or do so after long delays. Center Deputy Director Ramin Mojtabai’s research focuses on identifying barriers to behavioral health care among individuals with clear need for such care. His work has contributed to a better understanding of stigma and financial barriers that impede access to behavioral health treatment at community level.  

Effects of the ACA Dependent Care Provision 

Brendan Saloner has been examining the impact of a 2010 provision in the Affordable Care Act that required health insurers to offer dependent coverage to young adult children of their enrollees. In one study with national survey data, he found that use of mental health treatment increased by 17% after the provision among young adults. In work in progress, he finds that the provision substantially increased the share of young adults with private insurance paying for addiction treatment.