This article reports the results of a survey to collect data on the characteristics of patients in psychoanalysis under a nationalized health insurance scheme.
A questionnaire, to be answered anonymously, was sent to all 174 accredited psychoanalysts in Ontario, Canada. Part 1 of the questionnaire consisted of 38 questions on the analyst's pattern of practice. Part 2, also to be filled out by the analyst, consisted of 452 questions on the demographic characteristics, childhood traumas, DSM-III-R diagnoses, and indications for psychoanalysis of each of the analyst's patients.
One hundred seventeen analysts responded--a survey response rate of 67%--with data on 580 patients. Fifty-nine percent (N = 344) of patients were women, and 41% (N = 236) were men. Eighty-two percent had attempted other forms of treatment, including briefer forms of psychotherapy and medication, prior to psychoanalysis. During childhood, 23% had had traumatic separations, 23% had been sexually abused, 22% had been physically abused, and 21% had had a parent or sibling die. The mean number of adult psychiatric disorders at the beginning of analysis was four, and the mode was two.
In a nationalized health insurance scheme, the psychoanalytic patients were mostly women, they had high rates of trauma and psychopathology, and they had attempted other forms of briefer treatment before resorting to psychoanalysis.
In attempts to contain mental health costs, administrators are increasingly using incentives, competition, and accounting strategies and are creating more complicated financing systems. Yet the costs of these strategies and their impacts on the efficacy and efficiency of mental health services have yet to be studied. The authors compare mental health payment systems in British Columbia and Oregon. In the Canadian system, the patient is isolated from payment, sources of revenue are consolidated at the provincial level, only one payment mechanism per service type is used, health care documentation is oriented more to clinical needs than to reimbursement, and more discretion is delegated to providers. As a result, Canadian overhead costs are substantially less than those in the U.S. Patients have universal access to medical services in the Canadian system, and providers in hospitals, agencies, and individual practices have high incomes with low overhead costs.
The authors interviewed individuals treated for self-described mental health problems in the preceding year to examine patterns and predictors associated with dropping out of treatment.
Subjects were drawn from respondents to community epidemiological surveys carried out in representative samples of the United States and Ontario populations. Dropouts were those who had left mental health treatment during the prior year for reasons other than symptom improvement. The surveys also assessed potential dropout correlates: sociodemographic characteristics, attitudes about mental health care, disorder type, provider type, and treatment received.
The proportion of dropouts did not significantly differ between the United States (19.2%) and Ontario (16.9%), nor did the effects of the predictors differ significantly between the two samples. Sociodemographic characteristics associated with treatment dropout included low income, young age, and, in the United States, lacking insurance coverage for mental health treatment. Patient attitudes associated with dropout included viewing mental health treatment as relatively ineffective and embarrassment about seeing a mental health provider. Respondents who received both medication and talk therapy were less likely to drop out than those who received single-modality treatments.
Mental health treatment dropout is a serious problem, especially among patients who have low income, are young, lack insurance, are offered only single-modality treatments, and have negative attitudes about mental health care. Cost-effective interventions targeting these groups are needed to increase the proportion of patients who complete an adequate course of treatment.
After studying psychiatric coverage under national health insurance in Ontario, the author concludes that psychiatric benefits can be provided on the same basis as other medical benefits and that a government system can maintain confidentiality. Costs have been reasonable and in line with the proportion of psychiartists to the total number of physicians, and psychiartists' incomes have increased substantially, even with comparatively low official fees. Despite the existence of NHI, the public mental health system has been maintained in Canada and has been expanded in regard to children's services. There appears to be a continued need for direct public funding of services for certain other groups such as the elderly, chronic patients, ans substance abusers.
The frame of psychotherapy shows both universality and social relativity. Since the intrapsychic world is permeable to social reality, the meaning of insurance in psychotherapy depends on context. Experience with Canadian National Health Insurance suggests that when no-fee psychotherapy in normative, it is absorbed in the frame. There are still trouble spots in the Canadian system, particularly the management of missed sessions. Depending on the needs of the patient, charging for missed sessions can disrupt therapy entirely or be constructive for the treatment.
While a number of studies report high prevalence of mental health problems among injured people, the temporal relationship between injury and mental health service use has not been established. This study aimed to quantify this relationship using 10 years of follow-up on a population-based cohort of hospitalised injured adults.
The Manitoba Injury Outcome Study is a retrospective population-based matched cohort study that utilised linked administrative data from Manitoba, Canada, to identify an inception cohort (1988-1991) of hospitalised injured cases (ICD-9-CM 800-995) aged 18-64 years (n = 21,032), which was matched to a non-injured population-based comparison group (n = 21,032). Pre-injury comorbidity and post-injury mental health data were obtained from hospital and physician claims records. Negative Binomial regression was used to estimate adjusted rate ratios (RRs) to measure associations between injury and mental health service use.
Statistically significant differences in the rates of mental health service use were observed between the injured and non-injured, for the pre-injury year and every year of the follow-up period. The injured cohort had 6.56 times the rate of post-injury mental health hospitalisations (95% CI 5.87, 7.34) and 2.65 times the rate of post-injury mental health physician claims (95% CI 2.53, 2.77). Adjusting for comorbidities and pre-existing mental health service use reduced the hospitalisations RR to 3.24 (95% CI 2.92, 3.60) and the physician claims RR to 1.53 (95% CI 1.47, 1.59).
These findings indicate the presence of pre-existing mental health conditions is a potential confounder when investigating injury as a risk factor for subsequent mental health problems. Collaboration with mental health professionals is important for injury prevention and care, with ongoing mental health support being a clearly indicated service need by injured people and their families. Public health policy relating to injury prevention and control needs to consider mental health strategies at the primary, secondary and tertiary level.
This study focuses on mental health problems and compares the association of demographic and socioeconomic factors to the use of mental health specialty care and general medical care in the United States and the Canadian province, Ontario. It also examines how lack of insurance coverage in the United States and perceived need for care affects differences between the two countries. We employ a cross-sectional study design using the 1990 U.S. National Comorbidity Survey and the 1990 Mental Health Supplement to the Ontario Health Survey. Overall, 8.8% of Americans report one or more visits to the health sector for a mental health problem, compared to 6.9% of Canadians in Ontario. Americans with the highest incomes and no mental morbidity are much more likely to receive services than their Canadian counterparts. By contrast, Americans with the lowest incomes and high morbidity are much less likely to receive services for mental health problems than a similar group of Canadians. These results suggest that universal and comprehensive coverage, as exists in Ontario, does not necessarily lead to increased use of services with low value. However, the greater prevalence of perceived need for care among Americans with higher socioeconomic status and low mental morbidity suggests that the United States should be cautious in drawing lessons from other countries.
Many health policy reformers and researchers in the United States have focused on the Canadian health care system and its lessons for design of a national health care program in the U.S. Yet minimal attention has been given to Canadian mental health policy in this discussion. The author reviews the historical development of mental health services in Canada and discusses five current sources of tension in Canada's mental health care system, many of which are familiar to the American setting: restriction on fee-for-service payments, a two-tiered pattern of care involving provincial mental hospitals and general hospital psychiatric units, shortages of mental health care resources, limited funding of community-based programs, and lack of coordination of care. The author concludes that universal insurance coverage patterned after the Canadian model would ameliorate only some problems faced by mentally ill persons in the United States. Mental health benefits must be structured to ensure the availability and organization of a full spectrum of long-term health care and supportive services.
From 1972-73 to 1988-89, the number of Canadian psychiatrists doubled. Most psychiatrists are in fee-for-service practice. The median earnings of psychiatrists are close to those of internists. There is lack of psychiatric services available, but not a lack of psychiatrists. The lack of services is due largely to the allocation of psychiatric resources. The maldistribution of psychiatrists is increasing as more settle in urban centres. The U.S. General Medical National Advisory Council recommends that psychiatry spend two thirds of clinical time treating severe illnesses such as psychoses. Before any changes are made to the structure of Canadian psychiatry, more data are needed on patterns of fee-for-service practice, the characteristics of patients, the course and outcome of private psychiatric care, and alternative patterns of practice in which psychiatrists are consultants to family physicians and non-medical therapists.