To examine current concerns that in the Canadian single-payer mental health care system, the "rich worried well" (that is, wealthy individuals who are worried yet mentally well) may overuse psychiatric services, while low-income, uninsured mentally ill individuals may remain undertreated. The current study focuses on the mental health care in the Canadian region of Ottawa-Carleton, where a single-payer system provides universal access to mental health services, to assess how psychiatric services are provided by psychiatrists in private practice.
One hundred and seven private psychiatrists working in the region of Ottawa-Carleton completed a questionnaire which contained questions about the sociodemographic characteristics and background of the psychiatrists themselves and which asked the psychiatrists specific questions about the sociodemographic status, diagnosis, and treatment of each patient seen on November 10, 1994.
Approximately 93% of the patients seen met criteria for one or more Axis I disorders, of which mood and anxiety disorders were the most common. Wealthier patients were relatively underrepresented among the patients treated by the private psychiatrists. In addition, we found no significant differences in the distribution of Axis I, Axis II, and Axis III disorders between patients earning below $30,000 per year compared with patients earning above $60,000 per year.
Our results suggest that outpatient psychiatric care delivered by private psychiatrists in a Canadian single-payer system targets primarily individuals with major psychiatric disorders and does not seem to favour "the worried well." Larger epidemiological studies with independent assessments of psychiatric populations are necessary to confirm our findings.
Comment In: Can J Psychiatry. 1998 Jun;43(5):524-59653541
Several previous reforms decentralized Finnish psychiatric services to a great extent. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is outlining a proposal for Health Care Law, which makes an effort to centralize and reorganize healthcare. It is not yet possible to see what this will mean for the psychiatric services. In general, the health status of the Finnish population has improved. Although rates of suicides have declined considerably, rates of alcohol-related deaths have risen. Moreover, disability related to major depression has increased drastically, which has lead to a nationwide project called MASTO, which has the aim to improve early detection and treatment of depression. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health set up a work group, MIND 2009, to draft local working models for mental health and addiction services. To study the significance of psychotherapy in a private practice psychiatric context, the Finnish Psychiatric Association conducted a survey amongst its members. Most psychiatrists in private practice conduct psychotherapy.
This is the first "impact" type of economic study of psychiatric/counseling services from general practitioners. The paper analyzes a province-wide database that collates statistical data from all inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services as well as from private physicians. This paper asks whether psychiatric services from family physicians also reduce the overall costs of medical care. This research supports the general research findings that medical costs are lower after psychiatrists' care. ECT patients show a marked reduction in their medical costs. Patients with psychotherapy/counseling from family physicians did not show statistically significant reductions in overall medical costs. We need new classifications for the kinds of mental disorders seen in primary care settings.
Comment In: Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1990 Jan;12(1):8-102295438
Approximately 30% of cancer patients suffer from psychological distress, and psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in alleviating it. Based on the 'Behavioral Model of Health Service Use', we investigated equity in the use of publicly subsidized psychotherapy in a cohort of Danish cancer patients. We present descriptive data on patients' use of psychotherapy and examine characteristics of those who used this service.
The study population comprised 3646 participants in the prospective Diet, Cancer and Health cohort, diagnosed with a first cancer between 2003 and 2009, aged 56-80 years. Data on cancer diagnosis, psychotherapy use and comorbid conditions were obtained from registers, whereas data on demographics, social support and health status were obtained from questionnaires. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to identify factors related to use, which were subsequently evaluated with regard to equity.
Subsidized psychotherapy was used by 2.3% of the cancer patients. Longer education (> 10 years compared to 74 years: 0.07, 0.01-0.57, compared to
Fiscal matters were analyzed in four specialized programmes of the Department of Psychiatry at the Toronto Western Hospital in order to plan for service and academic activities. The resultant analysis allowed for the establishment of criteria for growth and the evaluation of clinical service performance and goals.
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.
In the midst of a sociopolitical debate regarding access to health services, an evaluation is required of the therapeutic impact of the direct participation by some patients in the cost of their psychiatric treatment. Empirical clinical concepts regarding the need for a direct payment of treatment by the patient have evolved. Initial rigorous practice systems have lead to more flexible methods allowing for the recognition of third-party financing. Psychoanalytic theory has addressed the issue most extensively, but other conceptual frameworks have reached similar conclusions as well. The experimental evidence to either support or refute the position that the direct payment of a fee has a beneficial effect on therapeutic outcome remains limited. The focus has been on studying the impact of fee manipulation, but a tested correlation of other motivators such as patient's insight, therapist's attitudes and behaviour and social pressures is mostly lacking. Two patient populations appear to be delineated. Fee participation is of particular value to the financially secure and to the educated while patients in need of less intensive involvement, with reality testing disturbance and limited insight benefit particularly from third party insurance. Different patient populations should have the right to choose different payment options.
The effectiveness of a new approach to providing psychiatric rehabilitation services in community settings will be assessed using a combination of quality assurance principles and program evaluation techniques. A new Assertive Community Rehabilitation Program (ACRP) is evaluated and compared with existing hospital rehabilitation programs. Measures of service efficiency, admission, discharge and readmission rates, and service costs are made for 100 new referrals, 99 inpatients and 117 outpatients. Follow-up interviews use standardized measures of clients' quality of life, clinical status, client and staff satisfaction, and community resource utilization. After 19 weeks of operation, the ACRP has prevented more admissions, and discharged more inpatients than the comparison programs. Readmission rates have not differed. Results at the end of the one-year project using this program-based quality assurance approach will facilitate managerial decisions about the future of rehabilitation services.