Parity delays, payment snafus, frustrate mental health providers

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News outlets anticipate the release of rules regarding the types of mental health care insurers must provide under the federal health care law, as well as the payment fallout from new treatment codes.

USA Today: Impending Rules Will Guide Equality For Mental Health
Regulations to be issued this month on the type of mental health coverage insurers must provide under the 2010 health care law may elevate mental illness to the status it needs, mental health experts say. … Since the shooting of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., President Obama ... has vowed to issue final rules this month that extend mental health parity to everyone who has health insurance under the health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act. Those regulations would go into effect in January, and though the specifics of those rules are unknown, advocates have clear ideas of what they'd like to see parity look like (Kennedy, 2/6).

NBC News: Therapists: Change In Medical Coding Threatens Mental Health Care
Marc Milhander conducted more than 100 psychotherapy sessions in the first few weeks of this year, treating patients ranging from the mildly anxious to the severely depressed and the 24-year-old with antisocial personality disorder who really wants to get his hands on a gun. But Milhander, 54, a psychologist who co-owns a busy Niles, Mich., counseling center, is getting pretty anxious himself. He's among a growing number of U.S. mental health professionals who say their insurance claims have been denied -- and their payments have been withheld -- because of problems resulting from nationwide changes in psychotherapy treatment codes that took effect Jan. 1 (Aleccia, 2/7).

CQ Healthbeat: Efforts To Simplify Medicaid And Mental Health Create A Complicated Mix
The Medicaid expansion under the health care overhaul and the mental health parity law share a common goal: to broaden and simplify coverage. But the combination of the two statutes results in a structure that is anything but universal or easy to understand. The resulting scheme would be hard for the average American to follow (Adams, 2/6).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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