a1 Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research
a2 Seattle University School of Law
This paper presents a discussion of the historical development of deinstitutionalization in the United States, including the political, ideological, and social origins of that policy. The outcomes of deinstitutionalization are considered, including the impact of the policy on the quality of life of people with severe mental disorders. The authors also provide a brief review of the literature on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of hospitalization versus outpatient (community) care. Recent developments in the use of involuntary hospitalization are discussed, along with a number of important trends in the delivery and financing of services for persons with severe mental disorders.