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From The CriticsReviewer: John K. Larson, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a comprehensive report of the work of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Quality Assurance and Accreditation Guidelines for Managed Behavioral Care. The committee solicited input from more than 150 representatives of national accreditation groups, national professional associations, consumer and advocacy groups, managed care industry groups, and federal and state agencies. The book contains in-depth discussions of current trends, challenges, structures and processes, access issues, ethical considerations, outcomes, and concludes with findings and recommendations. It contains numerous tables and appendixes.
Purpose: The purpose is to identify and address the challenges presented by the current state of affairs in managed mental health care, particularly with regard to standards of care and accreditation issues.
Audience: The intended audience consists of mental health providers, health plan administrators, and policymakers at every level.
Features: The book begins with an excellent summary that can serve as an excellent overview and review (or "Cliff Notes" for the lazy reader), followed by eight well-organized chapters, a glossary, and appendixes containing two excellent commissioned papers on outcomes that are worth the price of the book alone. Tables, quotes, and figures sprinkled liberally throughout provide additional clarity and impact.
Assessment: The book is remarkably consistent in organization and tone considering its scope and the diversity of its editors. Most practicing clinicians will recognize the value of the discussions about trends in managed care and outcome measurement. Specific accreditation issues will be of greater interest to clinicians with administrative responsibilities or a special interest in the forces that shape the healthcare environment. The volume should be required reading for administrators of health systems that provide mental healthcare and healthcare policymakers. It is uniformly excellent and appropriately provocative.