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Matters of Fact About Georgia’s Access to Mental Health Medications in Medicaid

  • Nearly 500,000 of Georgia’s close to 8.2 million 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 Georgia (excluding homeless people or people in institutions) was nearly 350,000 (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 nearly 80,000 thousand children in Georgia. An estimated 15.2 percent of those affected live in poverty. (SAMHSA National Mental Health Information Center)
  • In Georgia, 850 people die every year from suicide. Additionally, 17,000 Georgians end up in emergency centers for treatment of injuries due to attempted suicide. Nationally, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10-19 (Suicide Prevention in Georgia: Healing and Hope, the Carter Center, CDC: National Vital Statistics Report)
  • Unlike the rest of healthcare, medications comprise only 3% of costs for mental illnesses—and some experts contend that they may be responsible for more than 50% of positive treatment outcomes. (M. Graham, "Restrictive Formularies," National Mental Health Association, Department of Healthcare Reform)


  • As a result of every dollar saved by reducing the budget on medication for patients in Medicaid with Schizophrenia, $17 was spent on emergency services to those patients as a consequence. (New Hampshire)
  • Forcing people with mental illnesses to switch to cheaper medications cost the state $6,000 to $8,000 additional dollars per patient due to increased hospitalizations. (California)
  • Restricting access to medications through drug formularies increased Louisiana’s Medicaid cost by 4.1 percent. (Louisiana)
  • A year’s worth of medications averages $3,800 versus an average of $950 a day for hospitalizations. (Florida)

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