Equal Access To Care? Report Finds Mental Health Parity Isn’t Reality Yet
“I was surprised it was this bad. As someone who has worked on parity for 10-plus years, I thought we would have done better,” said Henry Harbin, former CEO of Magellan Health. In other mental health news, the dwindling of long-term-care facilities and psychiatric beds over the past decade is leading to a public health crisis.
Kaiser Health News:
If Your Insurer Covers Few Therapists, Is That Really Mental Health Parity?
It’s been nearly a decade since Congress passed the mental health parity act, with its promise to make mental health and substance abuse treatment just as easy to get as care for any other condition. Yet today, in the midst of the opioid epidemic and a spike in the rate of suicide, patients still struggle to access treatment. (Gold, 11/30)
Despite Laws Requiring Equal Coverage, Gaps Are Still Wide Between Coverage For Behavioral And Physical Health
A new report paints a grim picture of compliance with laws mandating parity in health coverage for physical and behavioral health conditions — increasingly a focus as health officials turn their attention to insurers’ role both in perpetuating and solving the nation’s drug addiction crisis. The report, published by the consulting firm Milliman and commissioned by the Bowman Family Foundation, highlights coverage gaps and significantly lower reimbursement rates stemming from the non-enforcement of decades-old laws meant to ensure those with mental and behavioral health needs — an umbrella term that includes treatment for substance use disorders — have equal access to care. (Facher, 11/30)
How The Loss Of U.S. Psychiatric Hospitals Led To A Mental Health Crisis
A severe shortage of inpatient care for people with mental illness is amounting to a public health crisis, as the number of individuals struggling with a range of psychiatric problems continues to rise. The revelation that the gunman in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting escaped from a psychiatric hospital in 2012 is renewing concerns about the state of mental health care in this country. A study published in the journal Psychiatric Services estimates 3.4 percent of Americans — more than 8 million people — suffer from serious psychological problems. (Raphelson, 11/30)