Locally Managed Behavioral Health Organizations: How Do They Affect The Capacity of Medicaid Managed Behavioral Health Programs to Serve Rural Populations?

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Lead researcher:
Project completed:
November 2001
Responsibility for Medicaid managed care has shifted from the Health Care Financing Administration to the states, fostering the development of locally managed behavioral health organizations (LMBHOs) to deliver behavioral health care to general (TANF) and vulnerable (SSI) Medicaid populations. LMBHOs are locally based networks that assume financial and management responsibilities for delivering Medicaid managed behavioral health services in their areas. LMBHOs are important to policymakers because they: (1) affect access to and quality of behavioral health care received by these populations; (2) have the potential to transform rural mental health delivery system; and (3) raise questions about responsibility for assuring quality and financial viability of services. Information about the types, characteristics, and experience of rural LMBHOs is limited. This study is designed to help federal, state, and local policymakers understand the issues underlying the development of rural LMBHOs. Toward this end, the proposed study has three goals:
  • to identify and profile types of rural LMBHO models developed;
  • to compare relative advantages and disadvantages of each model in providing MMBH within the context and constraints of rural service delivery; and
  • to describe current and future issues LMBHOs raise for policymakers.

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