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Physician caseloads at public mental hospitals
Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:429-431.
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to gather baseline data on physician caseloads, particularly psychiatric caseloads, at public mental hospitals. METHOD: A 26-item survey was sent to medical directors of public mental hospitals in the United States and its territories. Questions focused on hospital demographics, programs, and medical staffing. Survey data were analyzed and descriptive statistics were determined. RESULTS: Of 295 surveys mailed, 195 (66%) usable surveys were returned. The hospitals had a mean bed capacity of 347 (SD=301, range=10-1,926), a mean current patient population of 321 (SD=277, range=7-1,815), and 950 mean annual admissions (SD=891, range=3-5,100). Acute care was the most common treatment program (81%), followed by long-term care (71%). A wide range of psychiatric caseloads by type of program existed, with approximately equal mean and median amounts. CONCLUSIONS: The caseloads reported were, overall, reasonable and expected by the type of treatment program. The range of caseloads, however, included extremely high outliers that raise concerns about the quality of care delivered.

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