Harmonizing databases? Developing a quasi-experimental design to evaluate a public mental health re-entry program

Stephanie W. Hartwell, Xiaogang Deng, William Fisher, Carl Fulwiler, Usha Sambamoorthi, Craig Johnson, Debra A. Pinals, Lisa Sampson, Julianne Siegfriedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our study is the first-ever initiative to merge administrative databases in Massachusetts to evaluate an important public mental health program. It examines post-incarceration outcomes of adults with serious mental illness (SMI) enrolled in the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) Forensic Transition Team (FTT) program. The program began in 1998 with the goal of transitioning offenders with SMI released from state and local correctional facilities utilizing a core set of transition activities. In this study we evaluate the program's effectiveness using merged administrative data from various state agencies for the years 2007-2011, comparing FTT clients to released prisoners who, despite having serious mental health disorders, did not meet the criterion for DMH services. By systematically describing our original study design and the barriers we encountered, this report will inform future efforts to evaluate public programs using merged administrative databases and electronic health records.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-472
Number of pages12
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Administrative data
  • Re-entry program effectiveness
  • Released prisoners
  • Serious mental illness

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