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Despite advances in the treatment of these disorders, individuals with psychosis typically experience a course of illness characterized by repeated relapses of psychotic symptoms .Not surprisingly, the cost of care for psychotic disorders is astronomical.There is growing evidence that specialized clinical services targeted toward individuals early in the course of a psychotic illness may be effective in reducing both the clinical and economic burden associated with these illnesses.Unfortunately, the United States has lagged behind other countries in the delivery of specialized, multi-component care to individuals early in the course of a psychotic illness.
A key factor contributing to this lag is the limited available data demonstrating the clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness of early intervention for psychosis among individuals served by the American mental health system ().However, in some instances, baseline assessments (i.e., assessments completed prior to the start of EPICENTER care) were completed by EPICENTER clinical staff due to staffing limitations. The PANSS is a 30-item clinician-rated scale that assesses three domains of symptomatology: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and general symptoms.Items are rated such that higher scores are indicative of worse symptomatology.Over the first 6 months of EPICENTER care, participants experienced improvements in symptomatology, social functioning, educational/vocational functioning, cognitive functioning, and substance abuse.The average cost of care during the first 6 months of EPICENTER participation was lower than the average cost during the 6-months prior to joining EPICENTER.
Second, we will review clinical and cost data among EPICENTER participants during the 6 months prior to joining EPICENTER as compared to during the first 6 months of EPICENTER care.