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Medicaid patients in a private health maintenance organization: patterns of chemical dependency treatment

Although many Medicaid beneficiaries receive health care through commercial health maintenance organizations (HMOs), the impact of private managed care on low-income individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse has rarely been studied. This study examined treatment patterns of 234 Medicaid recipients who presented for care at an HMO between 1995 and 1997. After adjustment for demographic factors and duration of health plan membership, the Medicaid patients returned to start treatment after intake less often (odds ratio = 0.60) and dropped out of treatment sooner (median = 14 versus 28 days) than non-Medicaid patients. While many Medicaid patients received significant amounts of substance abuse treatment, further research is needed to explain the observed treatment gap and to identify areas where HMOs can improve services for some of their most vulnerable members.

Authors: Walter LJ; Parthasarathy S; Allen S; Ackerson L

J Behav Health Serv Res. 2002 Feb;29(1):1-14.

PubMed abstract

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