Managed behavioral health care carve-outs: past performance and future prospects.Annu Rev Public Health. 2007; 28:303-20.AR
As the managed behavioral health care market has matured, behavioral health carve-outs have solved many problems facing the delivery of behavioral health services; at the same time, they have exacerbated existing difficulties or created new problems. Carve-outs developed to address rising inpatient behavioral health costs and limited insurance coverage. They are based on the economic principles of economies of specialization, economies of scale, price negotiation, and selection. Literature shows that carve-outs have been successful in lowering costs and maintaining or improving access, but results on their impact on quality of care are mixed. In recent years, carve-outs have evolved to take on new roles within the health system, such as coordinating mental and physical health, addressing fragmented public financing systems, and using market power to implement quality improvement. Although not perfect, carve-outs have been instrumental in addressing long-standing challenges in utilization, access, and cost of behavioral health care.