Identifying Stakeholders to Pay for Enhanced Depression Treatment in Rural Populations

Research center:
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Project completed:
September 2006
The goal of this project is to identify stakeholders who economically benefit when rural patients receive enhanced depression treatment, which will, in turn, encourage health plans to provide enhanced depression treatment to their rural enrollees without raising premiums. Studies in predominantly urban cohorts report that enhanced depression treatment economically benefits employers but not health plans; parallel studies in rural cohorts have not been conducted. Because providing depression treatment reduces hospitalizations and outpatient care for physical problems in rural populations but not urban ones, enhanced depression treatment may differentially benefit health plans that cover rural residents. Evidence of economic benefit can encourage health plans to provide enhanced depression treatment to their rural enrollees without raising premiums, because it is in the health plan's own economic self-interest.

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