Mental Health Experts Examine Classifications Of Children’s Illness; Eating Disorders Patients Worry About Coverage
The Wall Street Journal looks at the effort to include kids' problems in the newest revision of psychiatrists' diagnostic manual. Also, KHN offers a story about the debate over health insurance for people with eating problems.
The Wall Street Journal: The Long Battle To Rethink Mental Illness In Children
Holed up in windowless hotel conference rooms near Washington, D.C., scientists have been busy rewriting the bible of American mental illness. It is the first revision of the nearly 1,000-page tome in 15 years, and one of the top priorities of the insular conclave is to rethink some children's disorders, particularly bipolar disorder. The fear is that too many treatable children are slipping between the cracks, either because of misdiagnosis or—more controversially—because they suffer from a disease that hasn't even been defined yet (Wang, 10/18).
Kaiser Health News: Patients Often Find Getting Coverage For Eating Disorders Is Tough
According to the Eating Disorders Coalition, a lobbying and advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., 14 million people are affected with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. And for many of these patients, getting a full range of insurance coverage can be difficult. Mental health coverage is often less generous than coverage for physical ills. In addition, helping eating disorder patients is complicated because it involves medical care, mental health services and nutritional therapy, requiring a team of specialists – often a primary care doctor, a therapist, a psychiatrist and a dietician. Patients argue that insurers don't adequately cover all those services (Kulkarni, 10/19). Watch a related video.
Meanwhile, officials in Connecticut looked the issue of children's coverage -
CT Mirror: Parents, Doctors Tell Healthcare Advocate: Coverage Denied For Children Needing Mental Health Care
Dozens of speakers testified about their challenges during a wide-ranging public hearing Wednesday on lack of access to prevention, treatment and health care coverage of mental health problems and substance abuse. State Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri called the hearing at the Legislative Office Building in response to the many complaints she has fielded from families and patients seeking help after being denied coverage. Dr. Andrew Lustbader, a child psychiatrist and pediatrician, said the middle class has trouble getting mental health treatment. "We have found that the upper and lower classes are, to varying degrees, able to get adequate mental health care for their children. However, the vast majority of children in the middle class -- those who are insurance dependent -- have far greater difficulty in getting reimbursement for much needed services," Lustbader said (Merritt, 10/18).