It is generally agreed that strong contracts between purchasers of health care services and managed care organizations (MCOs) form the foundation upon which managed behavioral health systems are built. Unfortunately, some public purchasers have left themselves and their clients vulnerable to poor quality services and restricted access due to poorly conceptualized and poorly written RFPs and contracts. This guide provides information that will help public purchasers develop RFPs and contracts for managed behavioral health care so as to achieve programmatic success. Although this guide is intended to assist public purchasers in their managed care contracting efforts it should not be used as a substitute for expert legal or financial guidance. Any recommendations put forth here should be carefully considered by purchasers and adapted with appropriate guidance to meet the needs of the specific State or locality.
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