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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia Is Skimping on Mental Health Care, Says Georgia Psychological Association
Date:4/7/2009

defend themselves if they see their BCBSGa patients for more than the "licensure type average" of 6.0 sessions, even though BCBSGa offers its PPO customers 50 therapy sessions per calendar year. Major depression, can affect almost 9% of the American population (Mann, New England Journal of Medicine, 10/27/05), and is a leading cause of lost productivity and time off from work. "It seems that Blue Cross is basing treatment decisions on statistics rather than clinical information," Prince said.

What else should you know?

In addition to psychotherapy, psychologists are the only mental health professionals who are qualified to administer, score, and interpret psychological testing instruments, including psycho-educational testing (for IQs, learning disabilities, etc.) and neuropsychological testing, among others.

Yet BCBSGa routinely denies coverage to its customers for psychological evaluations. Evaluations and accompanying clinical interviews are the first step in either diagnosing or ruling out learning disabilities, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Bi-polar disorder and other psychopathology. Nearly half (45%) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for two or more disorders (National Institute of Mental Health press release related to a study published in September 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry).

Without proper evaluation, mental disorders will go undiagnosed and therefore, untreated. For instance, among adults who have an anxiety disorder about half had symptoms of some type of diagnosable mental illness by age 15, an NIMH-funded study showed. The results emphasize the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders (NIMH Science Update 2/7/07). "In spite of these studies, many of which are publicized, patients are neglecting their mental health in part due to poor coverage and limited access to quality mental health care," Dr. Pr
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SOURCE Georgia Psychological Association
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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