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Poor mental health denies millions of Americans their chance to lead healthy and productive lives. Inadequately treated mental disorders are also an enormous driver of cost in our health care system as patients with a mental health diagnosis have nearly triple the average physical health care costs of enrollees those without.

Outcomes of mental health care provided in real world settings lag far behind the outcomes achieved in large trials of evidence-based treatments. One reason behind these poor outcomes in mental health care is that behavioral health providers severely lack the resources and tools to measure outcomes and determine whether patients are responding to treatment.

The Kennedy Forum is working to advance the quality of mental health care by promoting the adoption of evidence-based measures by all behavioral health and primary care providers. Measurement based care optimizes the accuracy and efficiency of symptom assessment, improves the detection of non-response (prompting revisions to the treatment plan), and maximizes the likelihood that patients receive the most effective treatment.

Why It Matters

  • Inadequately treated mental health disorders account for 27% of all disability in the United States.
  • Depression is the second leading cause of disability, accounting for over three times that of diabetes, over four times that of cancer, and over five times that of ischemic heart disease

Focus Group Participants

Carol Alter, MD
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
Mary Barton, MD
National Committee for Quality Assurance
Brian J. Boon, PhD
CARF International
Patrick Conway, MD
Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, US Department of Health and Human Services
Charles Engel
RAND Corporation
Margot Friedman, JD
Dupont Circle Communications
Mary Giliberti, JD
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Deborah Heggie, PhD
Magellan Health Services
Carolyn Kurtz, JD
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
Kevin Middleton, PsyD
MHNet Behavioral Health
Irvin Muszynski
American Psychiatric Association
Samuel Nussbaum, MD
Anthem, Inc
Laurel Pickering, MPH
NorthEast Business Group on Health
Phil Renner, MBA
Kaiser Permanente
Karen Sanders
American Psychiatric Association
Michael Schoenbaum, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health
Jim Spink
Beacon Health Options
Margaret VanAmringe, MHS
Joint Commission
Glenda Wrenn, MD
The Satcher Health Leadership Institute
Norman B. Anderson, PhD
American Psychological Association
Andrew Bertagnolli, PhD
Kaiser Permanente
Tim Cheney
Chooper’s Guide
Mark Covall
National Association of psychiatric Health Systems
John Fortney, PhD
University of Washington
David Gastfriend, MD
Treatment Research Institute
David Gitlin, MD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Rick Hermann
Tufts University of Medicine
Rick Lee
Garrett E. Moran, PhD
Theresa Nguyen, LCSW
Mental Health America
Joe Parks, MD
Missouri HealthNet
Willa Presmanes
MTM Services
Linda Rosenberg, MSW
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
Lewis G. Sandy, MD, FACP
UnitedHealth Group
Becky Sladek
University of Washington
Jurgen Unutzer, MD, MPH, MA
University of Washington
Thomas Wilson, PhD
Trajectory Health Care
Doug Zatzick
University of Washington School of Medicine