The Clinician's Guide to Managed Mental Health Care.
Fortunately, things are somewhat better these days. Although formal training programs still seem to neglect many of the basics of performing the physician's role, you now can find many articles and books on how to run your office, get your bills paid, or safely sign a contract with an organization that will send you patients.
The Clinician's Guide to Managed Mental Health Care is an example of this literature. Managed care - the wave of the future, according to many experts - is something every physician needs to understand. Yet the confusing collection of acronyms and initialisms, legal cases, terminology, and new legal risks makes the area a potential minefield. Managed care in mental health is perhaps a little bit more advanced than in the other areas of medicine because cost controls have been a major issue longer there.
The Clinician's Guide is an excellent introduction written by someone who is obviously familiar with the field from practical experience. Its purpose is to provide the naive clinician with the background necessary to evaluate an HMO affiliation or respond to a denial by a utilization management company The 10 chapters go step by step through the major areas of the field, and the six extensive appendices provide detailed information and sample documents There is also a small glossary and an address list of major organizations. I highly recommend the book for use by mental health clinicians (many of whom are not physicians) who need an introduction to managed care. It is clearly and simply written and attractively printed.
The usefulness of The Clinician's Guide for physician executives is another matter, however. Most physician executives' concerns with managed care go beyond mental health. Although many of the principles and facts discussed in the book are applicable to other medical specialties or to general managed care, few who are interested in the other areas will want to go through the mental health material to get at what they want. Even physician executives concerned with mental health services are likely to find this book too elementary and too concentrated on the individual clinician's perspective to be of use. Thus, I cannot recommend the book for physician executives except to use as a gift for mental health clinician colleagues. It would also be a good addition to the library of a hospital with a mental health service.
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|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1994|
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