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.
Goldblatt PB, Berberian RM, Goldberg B, Klerman GL, Tischler G, Zonana H. Catchmenting and the Delivery of Mental Health Services. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(4):478-482. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750340020003