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Brandeis University undertakes third national survey of health plans' behavioral health services
Date:5/11/2010

Waltham, MABrandeis University is launching two surveys of the nation's private health plans to assess how recent legislation affects quality of and consumer access to behavioral health services. Both the federal parity law and national health reform are likely to affect behavioral health care. The Brandeis 2010 and 2012 Health Plan Surveys, latest in a series begun in 1999, will track trends in how alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health services are provided for the more than 200 million privately insured individuals.

"Health plan decisions can dramatically affect the lives of people with substance abuse and mental health conditions. Now that behavioral health benefits are required to be on par with medical benefits, this survey will provide timely and important information in a field that is undergoing rapid change," said Principal Investigator Constance Horgan, director of the Institute for Behavioral Health at the Heller School. The survey will provide detailed information on how health plan changes are affecting consumers. It will examine many factors important to consumers including ease of access to behavioral health care, consumer cost sharing, and health plans' involvement in improving the health of members.

The 2010 survey will examine health plans' initial implementation of the new federal parity law and will also explore the growing role of information technology, expansion of wellness programs, use of incentives for performance and quality, and the integration of substance abuse and mental health treatment into primary care. The survey will also track changes in a broad range of domains examined in prior rounds, including screening in primary care, treatment approaches, provider payment and risk sharing, benefit design, and utilization management techniques. The 2012 survey will provide more detailed information about how health plans change services after the final parity regulations, due out shortly, go into effect.


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Contact: Laura Gardner
gardner@brandeis.edu
781-736-4204
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

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