April 1973

Catchmenting and the Delivery of Mental Health Services

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn; MD, Boston; New Haven, Conn
From the Department of Psychiatry (Dr. Goldblatt, Ms. Berberian, and Drs. Tischler, and Zonana) and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (Ms. Goldberg), Yale University, New Haven; and the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard University (Dr. Klerman), Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(4):478-482. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750340020003

National Institute of Mental Health regulations require each federally funded community mental health center assume responsibility for psychiatric care to inhabitants of a catchment area. The effect of catchmenting on clinical practice has not been previously examined in any detail. In this study services offered in an outpatient clinic, as part of a catchmented program, are compared to services offered in another outpatient clinic located in the same building, serving a similar population, staffed by comparable clinicians, but without catchmented responsibility. With catchmenting, intake was briefer, more patients started treatment, waiting lists were shorter, greater use was made of crisis-oriented approaches and medication, and there was less patient dissatisfaction. Some explanations are suggested for these differences.