Feds boosting mental health access, treatment (VIDEO)

In a move aimed at boosting mental health treatment, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced new rules that will put teeth in a 2008 mental health equity law.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, signed by President George W. Bush, requires doctors and insurers to treat mental illness the same as physical illness.

Sebelius made the announcement to applause at the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy in Atlanta.

The move “finally puts mental health and behavioral health on equal footing,” Sebelius said.

On paper, the law made mental health more accessible, but there has been virtually no enforcement of it, said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, president of the American Psychiatric Association and a Columbia University psychiatrist.

“Up to now, the law has not been complied with,” Lieberman said. “Companies have only sort of adhered to it.”

Insurance companies often cover mental illness in a more limited fashion than physical illness. Now the rule will require insurers to charge similar co-payments regardless if the treatment is for physical or mental health. Deductibles and doctor visits would also be equitable, and there would be parity in outpatient services and residential treatment.

Full story of boosting mental health access at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

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Will Savage

Quantum Units Continuing Education provides online CEU training's to licensed professional mental health therapists, counselors, social workers and nurses. Our blog provides updates in the field of news and research related to mental health and substance abuse treatment.