Quality measures for mental health and substance use: Gaps, opportunities, and challenges

Harold Alan Pincus, Sarah Hudson Scholle, Brigitta Spaeth-Rublee, Kimberly A. Hepner, Jonathan Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Following up on its Crossing the Quality Chasm report, in 2006 the Institute of Medicine issued a report that included sweeping recommendations to improve the quality of behavioral health care in the United States. To date, few of those recommendations have been implemented, and there is little evidence that behavioral health care quality has improved significantly over the past ten years. However, the advent of health care reform, parity of insurance coverage, and growing recognition of the impact of behavioral health disorders on population health and health care costs have created new demands and opportunities for expanded and innovative strategies to assess the quality of care for this patient population.We provide an overview of the current state of quality measurement in behavioral health, identify key priorities for measure development, and describe the most important challenges. We recommend a coordinated plan that would boost investment in developing, evaluating, and implementing behavioral health quality measures; conduct research to develop the evidence necessary to support a more robust set of measures; overcome barriers to the improvement and linking of data sources; and expand efforts to build the capacity of the clinical workforce, in partnership with consumers, to improve quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1000-1008
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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