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News and Notes   |    
News & Notes
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.6410news
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Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association

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SAMHSA report shows the importance of public funding during the recession: A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights the importance of public funding for mental health and substance abuse services during difficult economic times. Analyses of 1986–2009 data showed that from 2004 to 2007, before the recent recession, spending on behavioral health services by all payers (public and private) was growing at a rate of 6.1% per year. From 2007 to 2009, during the recession, that rate fell to 4.3%, reflecting the record-setting 4.5% slowdown in health care spending. A slowdown in private spending on behavioral health services accounted for the weak growth. From 2007 to 2009, private spending on these services grew at an average annual rate of only 2.7%. In contrast, public spending for these services remained strong during the recession, increasing at an average annual rate of 7.4%. Specifically, accelerated growth in federal spending sustained behavioral health spending during the recession, while state and local funding languished. Federal spending on these services grew at an average annual rate of 7.2% from 2004 to 2007 and 11.1% from 2007 to 2009. In contrast, state and local spending on these services declined at an annual rate of 1.2% from 2007 to 2009. Spending by all payers on behavioral health services was $172 billion in 2009 (estimates include only direct treatment of behavioral disorders and exclude treatment of comorbid conditions such as liver cirrhosis). In 2009, mental health spending ($147 billion) accounted for 6.3% of all health spending, and spending on substance abuse treatment ($24 billion) accounted for 1.0%. The 93-page report, National Expenditures for Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment, 1986–2009, is available on the SAMHSA Web site at store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA13-4740.

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