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Economic Viability of the Mental Health Worker
Razmig Madenlian; E. Mansell Pattison; Steve Saxon
Psychiatric Services 1980; doi:
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Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Services Orange County Human Services Agency Santa Ana, California

Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior Medical College of Georgia Augusta, Georgia

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Lower salary costs and effective provision of services to specific community groups are counted among the advantages of the use of mental health workers in community programs. In a cost-benefit analysis of the value of health manpower, salaries and service provision are only two of several factors, yet the circumstances of funding, training, and role diffusion that surround the use of the mental health worker have precluded true cost-benefit analysis. The authors believe that the mental health worker program of the Orange County, California, community mental health program is developed and stable enough that the initial steps of an economic analysis are possible. The data from the analysis show that, in the outpatient program, mental health workers constitute 37 per cent of the clinical staff and provide 41 per cent of the direct services, yet account for 26 per cent of the direct personnel costs.

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