Impact of Managed Care

It is possible that managed care will become a barrier to the success of drug courts and treatment as alternative to incarceration. The National Institute of Justice notes, "The premise of managed care, increasingly the norm, is that the least treatment required should be provided. This is at odds with research on substance abuse treatment, which has shown that the longer a person remains in treatment, the more successful treatment will be. Furthermore, managed care assumes the patient will aggressively pursue the treatment he or she deems necessary. Because most drug court clients initially prefer not to be treated, they are likely to welcome a ruling by the health care provider or the managed care insurer that treatment is not needed. Finally, drug court clients frequently encounter delays in obtaining treatment funding or must cobble together bits and pieces of various programs because the "exhaustion" rules of health care plans limit treatment."


Gebelein, Richard S., National Institute of Justice, "The Rebirth of Rehabilitation: Promise and Perils of Drug Courts" (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, May 2000), p. 6.