The Evolving Private Psychiatric Inpatient Market
The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 2011. Volume 38 / Issue 01 / January 2011, pp 122-131, Published online
Erica Hutchins, Richard Frank and Sherry Glied
The private psychiatric hospital market has exhibited great volatility over time. From 1976 to 1992, the number of hospitals more than doubled, while in the decade following, the number of facilities dropped by half. Recently, however, the industry has begun to grow again. The evolution of this market reflects the response of a private industry with access to capital markets to changes in both the supply of substitutes and the demand for services. Most recently, the limited supply of facilities and expanded demand for psychiatric services have spurred renewed growth. The two leading firms today, Universal Health Services, Inc., which rode the market crest and downturn since the 1980s, and Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., a newer entrant, have employed different strategies to take advantage of these opportunities. The rapid responsiveness of the private psychiatric hospital market, as exemplified by these two firms, presents significant potential for shaping future mental health policy.