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New Report Offers Comprehensive Look at Mental Health in Minnesota
Date:2/6/2008

More than one in 10 Minnesotans diagnosed with a mental illness

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Minnesota Council of Health Plans today released the first and most comprehensive overview of mental health care in Minnesota. Findings in the report, Minnesota's Mental Health, were released today at the Mental Health Innovations Conference in Brooklyn Center.

"This data is intended to create greater understanding of mental health in our state and to further our work with community and medical organizations working to improve mental health care," said Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans (MCHP).

Eleven percent or 274,000 people enrolled in Minnesota's health plans have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Depression is the most common diagnosis, followed by anxiety. Other findings include:

-- Nearly one in 10 children and adolescents age 20 and younger had a mental health-related diagnosis. The most common diagnosis is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, followed by depression and anxiety.

-- 97 percent of children prescribed antidepressant medications did not receive follow up care recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

-- One out of 15 people (about 6 percent) with a mental health diagnosis received emergency or hospital services, the most expensive place for care.

-- Seniors who are diagnosed with a mental illness are taking three or more drugs that are potentially dangerous for elderly patients, according to the Archives of Internal Medicine.

-- More than 80 percent of the medications used to treat mental illness in Minnesota are prescribed by primary care physicians in family practice, internal medicine, OB/Gyn, pediatrics, etc.; 20 percent are prescribed by psychiatrists or mental health specialists.

-- 21 percent of members with Minnesota Health Care Program coverage have a mental health diagnosis compared to 12 percent of people enrolled in employer-based or individual plans and 10 percent with Medicare.

"In addition, the report highlights the need for families to be involved in the care of their loved ones. Parents must continue to ask questions and gain further understanding of the medications prescribed to their children, and the overall plan for treatment. We also need to ensure safer care for older Minnesotans by asking questions when drugs are prescribed," Brunner said. "We all have a role in improving care."

The report anonymously analyzed claims data for 2.5 million members of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, FirstPlan of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, Metropolitan Health Plan, PreferredOne and UCare. The information is being distributed to mental health practitioners, other health care providers, organizations working to improve the mental health care system and the community at large. The full report is under the news and reports tab at http://www.mnhealthplans.org.


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SOURCE Minnesota Council of Health Plans
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