State of Mississippi spent more on institutionalizing than on community services for mentally ill, reveals report

A recent report, authorized by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (MSDMH), has revealed that a major share of the state’s resources was spent on institutionalizing those with mental disabilities rather than on community services for them. The same findings had previously been established by the U.S. Department of Justice. The report was made public

The findings of the $300,000 taxpayer-funded report were based on an analysis done by the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC), a non-profit organization, hired by the state. The analysis was based on five years (2010-2014) of Medicaid fee for service claims data and two years (2013-2014) of managed care data, which coincided with the implementation of managed care for behavioral health services in Mississippi.

Funds used for institutional services

Some of the other important findings of the study were:

  • In 2014, 49 percent of child behavioral health dollars were spent on services provided in institutional settings.
  • In 2008, Medicaid spent around 28.3 percent of its child behavioral health dollars on inpatient or psychiatric residential services.
  • Fiscal year (FY) 2014 saw an 11 percent increase in psychiatric residential treatment facilities and 6 percent increase in inpatient psychiatric hospitals compared to FY 2010.
  • FY 2014 saw the highest increase, that is 22 percent, in the number of unique utilizers in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, amongst institutional services, as compared to FY 2010.
  • Over $1 million was spent on evaluation, day treatment, community support, intensive home-based treatment (MYPAC), targeted case management and individual therapy in a given year. On the other hand, less than $1 million was spent on services such as intensive outpatient, crisis residential, mobile crisis and peer support in a year.
  • Approximately, one-fourth of home and community-based services’ (HCBS) dollars were spent on day treatment, in spite of a drop in day treatment utilization.
  • Though the MYPAC intensive home-based treatment spending reduced during 2013-14, FY 2014 saw a 64 percent increase in the total spending from FY 2010.
  • In 2014, there were almost $1 million in claims for crisis services.

According to Joy Hogge, child mental health advocate, the report claims that Mississippi spent more on institutional care as compared to other states. He felt that the implementation of the report’s recommendations required an amalgamated vision and plan, and a correct understanding of how to build a responsive system. “I was happy to see the report begin by saying the most important thing is how the system is experienced by children and families, but very disappointed that it then did not appear to integrate many of the issues families brought to the attention of the interview team,” he said.

The report suggests that more youth can be served in Mississippi in a less restrictive and integrated setting. This can be done by making the maximum utilization of services such as crisis stabilization, intensive outpatient program, mobile crisis intervention and peer support. Doing so can help in preventing youth from entering costly institutional settings. While it is believed that the HCBS are being utilized in the right direction, it is important to continue their work to promote acceptance of these services in Mississippi.

Mental disorders need treatment

The state of Mississippi needs to understand how to map the available resources to the existing mental health requirements. Institutionalizing instead of offering treatment and support will not solve the crisis.

If you or a loved one is dealing with any form of mental illness and is looking to connect with a mental health specialist, 24/7 Mental Health Helpline can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with our mental health expert to know about some of the best mental health facilities in your vicinity.