Mental Health Insurance Parity- An Imperative
Well-"Enuf braggin". But as a practicing physician it became very apparent to me very early on that the prevalence of mental health issues was grossly underdiagnosed and went grossly un or undertreated in part because of lack of coverage by insurance companies.
I came up with two simple questions that I personally petitioned JCAHO that would require that every primary care physician be required to ask of patients during their very brief time with patients under our failed managed care system. The questions are "How are things at work?" and "How are things at home?". Patients could respond on a 1-10 Likert scale and be treated or referred if an emotional disorder was apparent. But alas JCAHO does not certify out-patient facilities yet.
The incidence of depression, anxiety and other mental health related conditions is well documented and is likely rising due to many reasons I won't go into today (please stay tuned)
Kudos to President Clinton for requiring mental health parity coverage for federal workers in 1999. President Bush has promised he would push for parity legislation. Don't hold your breath though folks. Instead he and Dr. Frist are putting the final nails in the coffin of our dying US Health Care System.
For some enlightened views on the imperative for mental health parity insurance coverage I refer you to the Progressive Policy Institute at www.ppionline.org
and The Commonwealth Fund at www.cmwf.org. Both of these progressive organizations are responsibly trying to lead us into a better US Health Care System. Read them and support them!
If you want material on work stress my favorite site is www.workhealth.org which has many good studies and links.
Also I would be very pleased to forward to any reader my work with NIOSH on Organization of Work (OOW) since not only are there very clear biological causes for serious mental health conditions- without any doubt there are psycho-social causes and contributions- believe me-big time. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your interest in Mental Health Insurance Coverage Parity. Its comin for all. We have no choice!
Dr. Rick Lippin ("Blake")