2022 Edition — Quality of Care: Behavioral Health

Jen Joynt, Independent Health Care Consultant


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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 health plans performed slightly better on the initiation of antidepressant medication treatment than on the continuation of that treatment.

In 2020, 71% of California adults in HMO and PPO plans who were prescribed antidepressant medication took it for the first 12 weeks, and 56% remained on the medication six months following the start of treatment.

In California, few HMO and PPO patients with alcohol or drug dependence diagnoses received treatment services.

Slightly less than 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. One in 7 health plan patients had treatment services within 14 days and received at least two follow-up treatment services within 30 days of the initial treatment.

Opioid-related overdose emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths varied by race/ethnicity.

American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Californians were more likely to die from an opioid overdose than Californians of other races/ethnicities. Black Californians had the highest rates of ED visits related to an opioid overdose.

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.