Court-ordered mental health treatment may save money


mh_treatment1People with serious mental conditions should be subjected to mental treatment and recently these treatments are said to reduce hospital costs each year.  The assisted outpatient commitment (AOC) programs apply to people with serious mental disorders and a history of hospitalizations that stem from not sticking with treatments.  Patients in these programs are compelled by court order to show up for their prescribed care, though provisions for enforcement of the court’s order are sometimes unclear.

Currently there have been 45 states that enacted this law to create AOC programs.  The laws remain controversial and often are not used because of concerns about civil rights, resources and costs.  “What we’re hoping is that people will look at these types of analyses and say, ‘yes there are costs up front but it appears that you realize cost savings over time,'” said Dr. Marvin S. Swartz.

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