SAMHSA behavioral health headlines database

Criteria for Selecting State News for Behavioral Health Headlines 

Selection occurs in several phases:

I. A keyword search is performed using a database that contains over 150 State and local newspapers. The keyword terms searched include: alcohol and other drugs, substance abuse, mental health, mental illness, mentally ill, alcoholism, chemical dependence or chemically dependent, and behavioral health.  These terms are then combined in turn with a number of other search statements.  These statements include: Medicaid, Managed Care, State reform, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA, parity, Employee Assistance Programs, County behavioral health, including terms for substance abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, or mental health.

II.  From this search, staff receive approximately 200 articles with limited text every week.  These articles include the title of the article, the newspaper, and “key word context”—pieces of the text surrounding key words. Approximately 25-30 articles are chosen at this level for full text review. Articles are chosen at the broadest level to cast a wide net.

These articles cover any type of executive, legislative, judicial, provider or consumer level issue that impacts public sector behavioral health.  Editorials are excluded from all search levels. 

III. After reading full text, approximately 15 articles are chosen.  The selection criteria at this level is based on

  • Substantive issues, usually at the macro level in terms of State and county public sector behavioral health policy and services. In other words, articles addressing one provider’s issue, or one consumer’s issue are usually not selected unless they are representative of a larger system wide issue effecting State or county policy and/or services.

  • Interest to a variety of Stakeholders within a particular State or Nationwide.   These stakeholders include, but are not limited to: staff at Medicaid, mental health, substance abuse, criminal justice and child welfare agencies; State Medicaid directors, mental health commissioners, and alcohol and drug abuse directors; legislators and their staff; governor’s and their staff; private providers and managed behavioral health care organizations; consumer and family advocates; State affiliates for national associations such as American Psychiatric Association, American Nurses Association, National Community Mental Health Council, community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.  

  • Staff knowledge and experience.  The project manager, with over 20 years experience in State and National public sector behavioral health policy, make article selections.  Moreover, the project team, has been tracking newspaper articles in this area for the past 2 years and are familiar with every State’s public sector behavioral health system.  This knowledge base helps staff select articles of interest and importance to the behavioral health field.

  • Keywords from the Headlines database.  Although a multitude of topics are chosen, some of the larger issues staff look for include: changes in managed care programs, state budget issues, parity legislation, patient bill of rights, access issues, provider closures, lawsuits, procurement and contracting, funding and finance increase and decreases, grievance and appeal, and performance evaluations.  A full list of database keywords is attached.  This closely reflects the types of substantive issues staff use to select articles.

IV.  In addition to newspaper tracking, staff also use criteria noted above to select articles and information from a variety of sources, including:

  • On-line news from Open Minds

  • American Health Line

  • E-Health

  • Kaiser Electronic Updates

  • Mental Health Weekly, Mental Health Report, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Weekly, Managed Behavioral Health Business News

  • Information Express (includes journals such as Health Affairs, Behavioral Health Care Tomorrow, JAMA, Community Mental Health Journal, Administration and Policy in Mental Health, American Journal of Public Health, Inquiry)

  • NewsEdge Corporation

  • State Web Sites

  • State Contacts

  • SAMHSA Contacts

 Criteria for Selecting National News for Behavioral Health Headlines

  • Articles in the National section are chosen for their implications and interest to State and county stakeholders, as described above. 

  • Federal legislation is not covered, unless it is a major piece of legislation that would have a significant impact on State and county policy and services.  

  • Federal regulations are included. 

  • This section also covers new health services research in the behavioral health field, news from SAMHSA, HCFA and other federal agencies, Federal lawsuits as they relate to States and or counties, and private MBHO issues on the National level.

View Newspaper Source List Now


Project Overview | Search Database | View Current Issue |
Sign Up | Related Links | Source List | Selection Criteria