Is U.S. mental health policy penny wise and pound foolish?

The rate of incarceration for mentally ill patients is climbing as a result of Medicaid tightening control on certain antipsychotic medications, according to a new study. In some states, Medicaid is seeking to contain healthcare costs by requiring physicians to obtain prior authorization before prescribing newer, more costly antipsychotic medications known as atypical antipsychotics.

In a study published this week in The American Journal of Managed Care, researchers compared the rates of incarceration for people with schizophrenia in states which require prior authorization with those who do not. They found that in states requiring prior authorization, someone with schizophrenia has a 22 percent increased risk of being incarcerated.

Read the full story here:


I’ve wondered if something like this would happen. I take two atypicals - geodon and seroquel. I don’t know what I would do without them. If they try to put me back on a typical anti-psych I’m going to refuse to take it. Right or wrong, I don’t think I could face that. I imagine that a lot of people are a lot more willing to take atypicals than typicals. That allows for shorter and less frequent hospital visits.

This happens some here in Canada too. Clozapine isn’t covered by my son’s disability. I don’t think the Strattera I wanted him on for ADHD is covered either. For the first 3 months we paid for his meds out of pocket until he got on disability. Was turned down for welfare so had to wait. The Clozapine request for coverage was done a long time ago, I think Sept/13, but hasn’t been approved. Thankfully they are still issuing it through the hospital so that I don’t have to pay for it.

I lost everything we had paying for invega. I live in horror of not having what my son needs. I feel for people with no family. I think Washington should be marched on. We don’t take care of our mentally ill military. Those of us who are well should advocate for them. They should not be in prison.

1 Like

It cost more to have a prisoner than pay for the medications people need. We let these people stay in office.

1 Like

It’s also cheaper if people stay out of the hospital longer. Medicaid does not reason. They don’t pay for prevention.