We’re not alone

Pat Deegan linked to a report on the state of treatment for schizophrenia for medicaid recipients.

Although there was some state-to-state variation in the findings, the study found that, while more than 90 percent of beneficiaries with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder received an evidence-based medication during the year, only 61 percent of those beneficiaries continuously refilled their prescriptions. Medication level monitoring was provided to about half of beneficiaries taking lithium or anticonvulsants, and screening for common side effects of antipsychotics was provided even less frequently. Only 30 percent of beneficiaries received any preventive physical health services. In some states, less than half of beneficiaries received psychosocial services. Overall, only 5 percent received all of the following: a continuous supply of evidence-based medications, medication level monitoring and screenings for medication side effects, and psychosocial services.

It sometimes seems that addiction treatment’s shortcomings get a lot of scrutiny (Our field definitely has a lot of room for improvement.), but I’ve always wondered how other medical treatment systems would fair under similar scrutiny. It’s sad to consider how much despair, stigma and secondary illness is generated by the failure of this system to consistently deliver treatment of the appropriate quality.