This study reports the process and outcome of a mental health policy
change designed to relieve overcrowding in the 10 municipal adult
psychiatric inpatient units in New York City. The authors describe the
strategies used to achieve a limited change in admission policies and
analyze the effect of this change on the municipal hospitals. Comparison of
conditions before and after the policy change suggests its positive impact.
Results are discussed in reference to the model of incrementalism in policy
making, emphasizing the need for comprehensive rational planning, the
training of mental health professionals in policy making, and further
research on this important area of psychiatry.