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Center for Research on Quality in Managed Care
(PI: Dr. Kenneth Wells)


The UCLA/RAND NIMH Center for Research on Quality in Managed Care is designed to understand how to improve quality of care for mental disorders across the lifespan, through integrating perspectives and resources of diverse stakeholders, including plans, consumers, employers, policymakers, and providers; and to evaluate the impact of these efforts on quality of care, health outcomes, costs, and community-relevant outcomes. We focus initially on three disorders: Depression, schizophrenia, and ADHD.

The center structure includes an operations core that develops the multi-stakeholder perspective and assessments, maintains an interventions and technology (IT) capability, and provides basic infrastructure; a methods lab that develops new designs for these applied purposes and particularly promotes mixed methods; and a principle research core that houses the pilot projects for new directions while providing some support for further work on prior/existing projects like the ongoing PIC study or YPIC or HCC. Because of the unique focus on real-world partners, there is a separately competed for Research Network Core that specifically enables the partners. Within that core, we maintain a Quality Forum, which is hosted 3 times during the center, to bring the major players together to interact and make progress around key quality problems faced by the partners and (hopefully) addressed by the researchers. Further, there is an evaluation of the impact of the Center on the partners, which we hope might serve as a model for academic-community partnership for quality (in mental health at least).

One pilot addresses dissemination of quality improvement programs for depression among patients with heart diesease, across the major sites of a large HMO in Southern California, and links dissemination success to organizational characteristics; one examines feasibility and effectiveness of consumer-driven/peer support for schizophrenia; another explores financial incentives for quality within specialty managed care plans and provider groups, contrasted with social-cognition interventions; another explores parental conceptions of quality of care for ADHD contrasted with provider perspectives; and several pilots are determining how to conduct outreach and linkage from community-based organizations for depression, and among children, for post-traumatic stress disorder.