Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


Racial/ethnic disparities in mental health treatment in six Medicaid programs

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Center for Health Policy and Research; Clinical and Population Health Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Continental Population Groups; Ethnic Groups; Female; Health Services Research; Healthcare Disparities; Humans; Male; Medicaid; Mental Disorders; Mental Health Services; Middle Aged; United States


Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Public Health


Little is known about ethnic and racial disparities in mental health care among Medicaid beneficiaries. The association between ethnicity and race and the utilization of mental health care was explored in six Medicaid programs. The analysis distinguished between different settings of care, including community-based, outpatient hospital, inpatient, and emergency departments (EDs). Racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care were observed across state Medicaid programs. Hispanic and African American beneficiaries with mental illness were much less likely than Whites to be treated in community-based settings. African Americans were more likely to receive mental health treatment in inpatient, ED, and outpatient hospital settings in some states. The implications of these findings and possible initiatives to enhance community-based mental health care among African American and Hispanic Medicaid beneficiaries are discussed.

DOI of Published Version



J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2009 Feb;20(1):165-76. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of health care for the poor and underserved

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed