Nearly one in five Americans age 18 or older experienced a mental health problem in the past year, and about eight percent of the population was classified as having a substance use disorder. For many individuals, these conditions can pose significant challenges to health and well-being, and to the achievement of life goals such as an education, employment, and financial independence. As policymakers grapple with legislation that seeks to improve the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services, Mathematica’s groundbreaking work is informing the development and implementation of effective behavioral health care policies and programs.
Mathematica’s data collection and analysis helps policymakers and providers solve some of the most challenging issues in behavioral health care including the opioid epidemic, Medicaid payment for psychiatric emergencies, and the integration of services.
For many people with behavioral health conditions, primary care visits are often their only contact with the health care system. In addition, Medicare expenditures for beneficiaries who are both older than 65 and have a serious mental illness are nearly three times higher than expenditures for similar beneficiaries who do not have a mental disorder. This new issue brief describes the value of integrating behavioral health care into primary care, including how new policy changes stipulated in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) have the potential to address barriers to successful integration.
Trends in the prevalence and treatment of substance use have remained relatively consistent over the past decade, but policy changes called for by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act of 2008 have the potential to increase the number of people who are seeking—and receiving—treatment. As a result, policymakers are concerned that providers may not have the capacity to meet the growing demand for treatment. This new report examines where the nation is with respect to the prevalence of substance use disorders, the treatment of these disorders, and the capacity to continue treating them.
Learn more about Mathematica’s behavioral health work.