SPOKANE, Wash. — Comparing outcomes of various mental health treatment approaches, or services delivered by various mental health centers, is like comparing apples and oranges. Outcomes differ depending on the diagnoses and conditions of the people who receive service. Policy-makers and health care professionals are interested in making accurate comparisons to evaluate cost effectiveness and benefits to patients — a topic known as risk adjustment.

A two-day conference on risk adjustment designed for people doing mental health outcomes research or practice will be held March 26-27 at the WestCoast Grand Hotel at the Park in downtown Spokane. The conference is presented by the Washington Institute for Mental Illness Training and Research, the Area Health Education Center at Washington State University Spokane, and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, a federal agency of the Public Health Service.

Researchers and practitioners from across the United States will discuss and develop next steps for advancing risk adjustment. This is the second national research development conference on the risk-adjustment theme. The first also was held in Spokane by WIMIRT and WSU Spokane in 1999.

Michael Hendryx, WIMIRT assistant director, coordinated both conferences. Hendryx is recognized by the mental health field as a national leader on risk adjustment.

For registration information, contact the AHEC, 509/358-7640, 800/279-0705 or conference@wsu.edu.

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