(Received 8 February 1999; accepted 20 September 1999)
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The Texas Legislature in 1993 mandated a quarterly reporting requirement for hospitals and physicians performing electronvulsive therapy (ECT) in the state (United States Government hospitals were excluded). The Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR) was designated as the agency responsible for collecting and maintaining the data. This paper reviews the ECT data from 16 quarterly reports (09/01/93 through 08/31/97). The reports contained data on 41.660 ECT treatments in approximately 5971 patients. The results of this study support the proposition that ECT is an extremely safe and effective treatment for those individuals suffering from a serious mental illness. In Texas, ethnic groups other than non-Hispanic Anglo-Americans appear to be underserved in regards to ECT. Those patients without appropriate insurance or adequate personal funds are also underserved as a result of the few county and state hospitals performing ECT and the relatively small number of patients treated with ECT at those hospitals. Recommendations are suggested to improve the quality of the database and in informing the public as to the safety and efficacy of this valuable treatment modality.
What, at first, was seen as an unwarranted legislative foray into the practice of medicine, has, in the end, become a source of valuable data supporting the use of ECT as an important treatment modality.
Medical director, Chester Mental Health Services, Chester, IL
Associate professor of Psychiatry, the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Chief, Forensic Psychiatry Services, Houston, Texas
Stock #: JFS14867J