More mental health insurance options for families - but who will provide?

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Network faithful are encouraged to take note of a recent article in Politico that underscores our concern about access to quality mental health services for children and families. The article strikes a familiar refrain for us: After the tragedy in Newtown the country is abuzz with talk of improving mental health services, the excitement about parity and the Affordable Care Act, and the potential for increased access to mental health care for families. Only one small problem - with reimbursement rates so low, even with insurance made available under the new health care law, it's no guarantee that families will be able to pay for it. Debbie Plotnick, senior director of state policy for the advocacy group Mental Health America, is quoted in the article, saying, “It does come up regularly, and I’ll tell you where it’s especially acute — there’s a tremendous dearth of practitioners for children, and of the few who are there, many, many of them don’t take insurance plans.

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  1. Dr. George Patrin's avatar
    Dr. George Patrin
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    The answer to this shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists is to better resource primary care to provide mental health care. people cannot get in to see their primary care doctor for the basic mental health screening and support. The mental health profession needs to place themselves within primary care as consultants who guide and advise the primary care provider team first, and then provide individual care if needed. Of course, this solution is not going to work if primary care providers keep 'getting out' due to an inability to practice medicine at the reimbursement rates provided to primary care.
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