Mental Health Parity tagged posts

AFSP’s Suicide Prevention Policy Priorities: Our Agenda for Progress

John Madigan

John Madigan, Vice President of Public Policy
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Reducing the incidence of suicide requires a multi-pronged approach, including scientific research, educating the public, supporting suicide loss and attempt survivors, and advocating for public policies. That’s the premise for our work at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Congress Strengthens Mental Health Parity

Carol Rickard

Carol Rickard, Community Education and Outreach
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

With the stroke of his pen on December 13, 2016, as he signed the 21st Century Cures Act, President Obama moved our nation one step closer to treating the whole person and ensuring equal access to health care for individuals living with a mental health condition. This law addresses a wide range of health issues, including a major emphasis on mental health issues. In signing the legislation, the President put into motion critical provisions to improve implementation and enforcement of the 2008 parity law.

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What Is the Future of Obamacare?

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

With Republicans moving into the White House and controlling both houses of Congress, what can the American people expect to happen to “Obamacare” and what impact will that have for those of us living with a mood disorder and our families? If Obamacare collapses, will we have access to mental health care?

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Think You Have Adequate Insurance Coverage? Think Again.

Carol Rickard
Chair, DBSA New Jersey Grassroots Organization

Every year, millions of people go through their employer’s open enrollment period for health care insurance and are completely unaware of the danger that lies lurking in the darkness of that coverage: managed care!

As I sit to write this article, I am reminded of my introduction to managed care via a patient I cared for on the inpatient mental health unit where I had worked as a Recreation Therapist. Honestly, she comes to mind any time my thoughts move to “managed care.”

An all too common story
Linda was a mother of two young ...

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Now That You Understand Mental Health Parity Issues, How Will You Respond?

TAKE ACTION

Since the first of the year, CFYM has informed and educated our readers  about the issues of mental health parity. Our guest bloggers have asked, “If we don’t have access, do we really have parity?” Others have revealed the tragic results that can occur when access is lacking. Still others have pointed out the disparity between states.

The one point they all have in common is a plea for you, the reader, to take action! Taking action means getting involved. Below are some suggestions:

  • Understand your insurance benefits
  • Challenge stigma
  • Contact your elected officials

While the words are simple on paper, actually taking steps is anything but. That is why CFYM, in partnership with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), wants to make getting involved easier for our readers.

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Disparity, Not Parity, Describes Mental Health Status and Access in America Today

Paul Gionfriddo
President Mental Health America

That’s the bottom line message in a recent report, entitled Parity or Disparity: The State of Mental Health in America 2015, released by Mental Health America (MHA).

But the good news is that there are plenty of things we can do to change that – if we’re willing to change the way we approach mental illnesses in general.

MHA produced this report because we aren’t satisfied with the narrowness of the policy debate we have been having. It has been too much about public safety and post-crisis intervention, leading to a focus on inappropriate, back end, post-crisis care. These interventions occur long after mental health concerns—if identified and treated early—could be eliminated or mitigated, avoiding crises and tragedies.

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What Should Employers Do to Increase Access to Mental Health Care?

Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio

Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio, LMFT, LCSW, DVS, CEAP, SPHR
Vice President, Health and Wellness, Prudential Financial, Inc.

I read Carolyn Beauchamp’s recent post CFYM with interest, but not surprise. Ms. Beacuchamp discusses the inadequacies of insurers’ behavioral health networks and highlights the challenges that insured patients encounter when seeking mental health care. Often network information is outdated or incorrect, and it can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating to obtain an appointment. For someone in a worsening mental health state, such obstacles are frustrating at best, catastrophic at worst.

While Carolyn’s piece sheds light on this important issue, it is—unfortunately—not news to those of us who work in the behavioral health field. As a practitioner, I experienced the frustrations of patients struggling to find an in-network provider or schedule an appointment within a reasonable time frame. Now, in my current role as Vice President, Health and Wellness, at Prudential Financial, I work to combat these challenges and reduce obstacles to care.

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How Can We Achieve Mental Health Parity If There Are Not Enough Practicing Psychiatrists?

A provider’s perspective on the limited access to mental health care

Dr. Philip R. Muskin
Professor of Psychiatry
Columbia University Medical Center

As a practicing psychiatrist and patient advocate, I strongly believe that equal treatment and quality care should apply to someone who has a chronic mental health illness, like schizophrenia or major depressive disorder, requiring ongoing therapeutic and complex medical management, just as would apply to a patient in need of cardiovascular treatment or other chronic medical issue.

I’m troubled and frustrated by the rash of recent studies finding that patients across the United States are unable to obtain a timely appointment with a local mental health provider, notably a psychiatrist, who accepts their insurance coverage. This growing problem, old news to those of us practicing in the field, is multi-faceted and a fix will require a significant commitment to change on the part of many involved in the delivery and financing of health care. Unfortunately, it’s not clear such a commitment yet exists.

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