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Catchmenting and the Delivery of Mental Health Services

Phillip B. Goldblatt, MD; Rosalie M. Berberian, MPH; Betty Goldberg, MA; Gerald L. Klerman; Gary Tischler, MD; Howard Zonana, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(4):478-482. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750340020003.
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National Institute of Mental Health regulations require each federally funded community mental health center assume responsibility for psychiatric care to inhabitants of a catchment area. The effect of catchmenting on clinical practice has not been previously examined in any detail. In this study services offered in an outpatient clinic, as part of a catchmented program, are compared to services offered in another outpatient clinic located in the same building, serving a similar population, staffed by comparable clinicians, but without catchmented responsibility. With catchmenting, intake was briefer, more patients started treatment, waiting lists were shorter, greater use was made of crisis-oriented approaches and medication, and there was less patient dissatisfaction. Some explanations are suggested for these differences.


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