Hispanic Americans and the state mental hospitals in Texas: ethnic parity as a latent function of a fiscal incentive policy.
This paper examines patterns of utilization of the state mental hospitals in Texas by Hispanics compared to Anglos over a 5-year period from FY 1984 to FY 1988. Historically, Hispanics have been underrepresented in public mental health client populations in the United States. In the mid-1980s in Texas, the ethnic gap in use of psychiatric facilities was expected to widen as Hispanic population growth outpaced the capacity of the public system to provide accessible mental health services for persons with serious and persistent psychiatric illnesses. But in the inpatient sector, the gap narrowed significantly in the second half of the decade, due to a policy-driven sharp reduction in the overall census of the state mental hospitals. A fiscal incentive program to stimulate the development of community-based mental health services had a markedly different effect on subsequent inpatient utilization by Anglos compared to Hispanics, most notably in counties that were less urban and less affluent and counties with a relatively high proportion of Hispanic residents. The context and mixed implications of these developments are explored.
Swanson, JW; Holzer, CE; Ganju, VK
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