The Cost of Assisted Outpatient Treatment: Can It Save States Money?

Objective: The authors assessed a state’s net costs for assisted outpatient treatment, a controversial court-ordered program of community-based mental health services designed to improve outcomes for persons with serious mental illness and a history of repeated hospitalizations attributable to nonadherence with outpatient treatment.

Conclusions: Assisted outpatient treat- ment requires a substantial investment of state resources but can reduce overall service costs for persons with serious mental illness. For those who do not qualify for assisted outpatient treatment, voluntary participation in intensive community-based services may also re- duce overall service costs over time, de- pending on characteristics of the target population and local service system.

–Jeffrey W. Swanson, Ph.D., et al.

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