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Matters of Fact - Maine

Access to Treatment for Mental Illness in Medicaid

  • Nearly 35 thousand of Maine’s one million two-hundred thousand residents have a severe mental illness. (U.S. Census 2000; U.S. Center for Mental Health Services)
  • In the year 2000, the estimated number of people age 18 or older with a serious mental disorder living in Maine (excluding homeless people or people in institutions) was 26,000 (SAMHSA National Mental Health Information Center)
  • In the year 2000, the estimated number of children and adolescents with a serious mental disorder was 1,866,112, or over 9,000 children in Maine. An estimated 17.6 percent of those affected live in poverty. (SAMHSA National Mental Health Information Center)
  • Prior authorization programs for people in Medicaid are a dangerous proposition for persons with mental illness. Prior authorization programs for people with mental illness have the potential to further erode a very tenuous community system of care. (NAMI Policy Research Institute, State Action Alert, April 2003)
  • The number of childhood hospitalizations for mental health or substance abuse rose by 40 percent in Maine between 1999 and 2002. Nearly 2,500 hospitalizations a year for this range of illnesses cost $41.8 million dollars.
  • Untreated mental disorders cost our country’s economy and business more than $70 billion annually to lost productivity. (U.S. Surgeon General)
  • In fiscal year 2001, the average value of increased business activity generated from Maine’s $478 million in Medicaid spending was $1.7 billion, or a rate of return per dollar invested in Medicaid of over $2.80. ("Medicaid: Good Medicine for State Economics", Families USA, January 2003)
  • A 1998 report from the Task Force on Substance Abuse found that the annual cost of substance abuse in Maine is $1.2 billion dollars and that every dollar spent on treatment saves $15 in costs associated with the consequences of untreated substance abuse.
  • A 1999 study by the Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and Housing reported that 30% of Maine’s homeless are children. Just under 25% are homeless because of chronic mental illness and substance abuse and this group has the highest percentage of repeat visits.

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