Comparing Consumer and Nonconsumer Provided Case Management Services for Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness

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This study compared the outcomes of services provided by case managers who are mental health system consumers and case managers who were not consumers. The study focused on the first two cohorts that entered the ACCESS program, a 5-year demonstration program funded by the Center for Mental Health Services between 1994 and 1996. We tested the associations between the type of case manager and clinical outcomes at three time points (baseline, 3 months, and 12 months). A series of one-way repeated measures of analyses of variance were conducted on clients from ACCESS sites that hired consumer providers. Although there were significant effects of Time for almost every outcome measure (clients improved over time), there were no significant Time × Case Manager Type interactions. Staff age, race, or gender did not significantly alter the pattern of these results. Given that services provided by consumers and nonconsumers were associated with equivalent client outcomes, the present study shows, using a large sample, the ability of consumers to provide mental health services as members of a case management team.

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