Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


Overview of publicly funded managed behavioral health care.

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Cost Savings; Eligibility Determination; Financing, Government; Managed Care Programs; Mental Health Services; United States


Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Public Health


Using MEDLINE and other Internet sources, the authors perform a systematic review of published literature. A total of 109 articles and reports are identified and reviewed that address the development, implementation, outcomes, and trends related to Managed behavioral health care (MBHC). MBHC remains a work in progress. States have implemented their MBHC programs in a number of ways, making interstate comparisons challenging. While managed behavioral health care can lower costs and increase access, ongoing concerns about MBHC include potential incentives to under-treat those with more severe conditions due to the nature of risk-based contracting, the tendency to focus on acute care, difficulties assuring quality and outcomes consistently across regions, and a potential cost-shift to other public agencies or systems. Success factors for MBHC programs appear to include stakeholder involvement in program and policy development, effective contract development and management, and rate adequacy.


Coleman M, Schnapp W, Hurwitz D, Hedberg S, Cabral L, Laszlo A, Himmelstein J. "Overview of publicly funded managed behavioral health care." Adm Policy Ment Health. 2005 Mar;32(4):321-40.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Administration and policy in mental health

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID