Publications / 2021 Edition — Quality of Care: Behavioral Health

2021 Edition — Quality of Care: Behavioral Health

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Over the last few decades, there has been a significant growth in the measurement and reporting of health care quality outcomes. As health care evolves, it is important to continue to monitor and report on the quality of care delivered to patients in California and across the US. This is part of a series of measures CHCF is publishing on the quality of care in our state. Topics range from maternal to end-of-life care, and include measures on behavioral health, chronic conditions, and providers.

This set of quality measures focuses on behavioral health, including mental health and substance use.

California adolescents were less likely to receive treatment for depression than adolescents nationwide.

Among adolescents in California who reported a major depressive episode, 36% received treatment for depression. This was lower than the national rate of 42% and the Healthy People 2030 target of 46%.


Health plans in California and the US performed better on initiation of antidepressant medication treatment than on continuation of that treatment.

In California and the US, 7 in 10 adult health plan patients who were diagnosed with depression and newly treated with antidepressant medication remained on their antidepressant medication for the first 12 weeks following the start of treatment. However, more than 5 in 10 California patients remained on an antidepressant medication for six months following the start of treatment.


In California and the US, few health plan patients with alcohol or drug dependence diagnoses received treatment services.

About 4 in 10 adolescent and adult health plan patients in California started treatment services for alcohol or drug dependence within 14 days of being diagnosed. About 1 in 8 health plan patients initiated treatment services within 14 days and received at least two follow-up treatment services within 30 days of the initial treatment.


The companion Excel data file, which provides these data and more, as well as links to each data source, is available for download below. These materials are part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of Quality of Care.

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