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The changing role of the state psychiatric hospital
Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center Publications and Presentations
  • William H. Fisher, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Jeffrey L. Geller, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • John A. Pandiani, Bristol Observatory
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Psychiatry
Publication Date
Document Type
Commitment of Mentally Ill; Cooperative Behavior; Cost Control; Cross-Sectional Studies; Dangerous Behavior; Forecasting; Health Care Reform; Health Facility Closure; Health Policy; Health Services Needs and Demand; Hospitals, Psychiatric; Hospitals, State; Humans; Length of Stay; Mental Disorders; United States

State hospitals were once the most prominent components of U.S. public mental health systems. But a major focus of mental health policy over the past fifty years has been to close these facilities. These efforts led to a 95 percent reduction in the country's state hospital population. However, more than 200 state hospitals remain open, serving a declining but challenging patient population. Using national and state-level data, this paper discusses the contemporary public mental hospital, the forces shaping its use, the challenges it faces, and its possible future role in the larger mental health system.

DOI of Published Version
Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 May-Jun;28(3):676-84. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
William H. Fisher, Jeffrey L. Geller and John A. Pandiani. "The changing role of the state psychiatric hospital" Vol. 28 Iss. 3 (2009) ISSN: 0278-2715 (Linking)
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