The treatment of dangerous patients in managed care: Psychiatric hospital utilization and outcome

Amy E. Lansing, John S. Lyons, Linda C. Martens, Michael T. O'Mahoney, Sheldon I. Miller, Alexander Obolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The legal criteria for civil commitment dictates that individuals must be mentally ill, and either a danger to themselves, a danger to others, or substantially impaired in their ability to provide for their basic needs. These criteria, which have been adopted as medical necessity criteria by managed care programs, may result in a change in the clinical mix of the psychiatric inpatient population. The present study assesses the incidence of dangerousness among psychiatric inpatients and compares dangerous and nondangerous patients in terms of characteristics and treatment outcomes. The results indicate that for a large regional managed care program, 30% of psychiatric inpatients have a history of dangerousness in the past year. Patients who are rated as dangerous to others during admission have higher rates of complications for treatment and psychiatric disorders such as residential and vocational instability, family disruption, and higher premorbid dysfunction. They are also more likely to engage in disruptive and aggressive behavior during their hospital stays. Despite the higher incidence of acute and long-term dysfunction for dangerous patients, their hospitalization length of stay was comparable to that of patients not rated as dangerous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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