Navigation Links
Even privately insured have hard time getting psychiatric care in Massachusetts: Harvard study
Date:7/20/2011

A new study by Harvard Medical School researchers published today [July 21] in the Annals of Emergency Medicine finds that access to outpatient psychiatric care in the greater Boston area is severely limited, even for people with reputedly excellent private health insurance. Given that the federal health law is modeled after the Massachusetts health reform, the findings have national implications, the researchers say.

Study personnel posed as patients insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts PPO, the largest insurer in Massachusetts. They called every Blue Cross-contracted mental health facility within a 10-mile radius of downtown Boston, stating they had been evaluated in an emergency department for depression and discharged with instructions to obtain a psychiatric appointment within two weeks i.e. they signaled they needed urgent care.

Only 8 of the 64 facilities (12.5 percent) listed by Blue Cross as preferred providers offered appointments; only 4 (6.2 percent) offered an appointment within two weeks. These findings indicate that even patients with top-drawer private insurance face grave difficulties in securing mental health services in the Boston area.

According to the study, 23 percent of phone calls seeking appointments were never returned, even after a second attempt. Another common reason appointments were unavailable was that 23 percent of psychiatric providers required that the patient already be enrolled with a primary care doctor affiliated with their psychiatric facility.

"People with mental health problems often can't advocate for themselves especially in a crisis," said lead author Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, an attending psychiatrist at the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance. "Health insurers know this and yet, thanks to their restrictive provider networks and their low reimbursement rates for psychiatric services, they've created a situation where a patient with a potentially life-threatening disorder, such as the severe depression portrayed in our callers' scenario, is essentially abandoned at a time of great need."

"Despite having private coverage, our simulated patient faced daunting barriers when trying to access psychiatric care," Boyd continued. "How likely is it that a real patient in the grip of severe depression would persevere through so many unsuccessful attempts?"

Senior author Dr. Rachel Nardin, chief of neurology at Cambridge Health Alliance, said: "The incentives of the current health insurance system are aligned against patients with mental illness. Insurers try to protect their bottom line by reimbursing poorly for psychiatric services and by constraining their in-network provider lists, both of which limit patients' options so severely as to make services essentially unavailable."

"Lack of adequate access to mental health care strains our entire health care system," said Nardin. "Emergency departments are overwhelmed with boarding psychiatric patients for whom no other resources exist."

"A good first step would be for insurance companies to immediately provide improved reimbursements for psychiatric care," Nardin said. "A more fundamental solution, however, would be to remove private insurers from the picture altogether and to establish a single-payer national health insurance program a program that would cover mental health services as part of its comprehensive benefits package."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Almberg
mark@pnhp.org
312-782-6006
Physicians for a National Health Program
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Ocean Park – Delaware's First Privately Owned Platinum LEED Certified Office Park
2. Health reform law will insure nearly all uninsured women by 2014
3. Report: Unemployment Adds 9 Million Uninsured in U.S.
4. New health insurance survey: 9 million adults joined ranks of uninsured due to job loss in 2010
5. Number of Uninsured American Adults Hits Record High
6. New report: How will the affordable care act affect 15 million uninsured young adults?
7. Even Before Recession, 14 Million Kids Underinsured: Study
8. Number of uninsured in California counties grew during recession
9. Number of Uninsured Jumped By Nearly 3 Million in 2009
10. Free Clinics Play Important Role for Uninsured in U.S.
11. Uninsured more likely to die from trauma than patients with insurance, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/29/2017)... ... 29, 2017 , ... A New York high tech innovator and a Canadian ... effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in helping nudge men forward to be more proactive ... President of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF), whose mission is to inspire men ...
(Date:5/28/2017)... ... May 28, 2017 , ... Florida Pain ... announce that Sheldon K. Cho, MD, has joined its Winter Haven practice. ... concentrates on minimally invasive techniques to treat and manage many types of pain. ...
(Date:5/27/2017)... , ... May 27, 2017 , ... From May 21-23, ... Oticon. The three-day event was held at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown Hotel in Syracuse, ... hearing brand and network of independent hearing healthcare providers to help them stay ahead ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... The Radiology ... to focus on current legislative activity and the latest regulatory concerns impacting RBMA ... Sunday, Sept. 10, and will continue through Monday, Sept. 11, at the Ritz-Carlton, ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... ... ever copper, antimicrobial, mesh back 24/7 task chair specifically designed for clinical areas. ... “We are thrilled to partner with Cupron® to provide customers with a game ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/10/2017)... -- Global Health Intelligence (GHI), the leading healthcare ... published its 2017 ranking of the Best-Equipped Hospitals in ... analysis from GHI,s hospitals database for Latin America , ... The GHI database covers 86% of the hospitals in ... points for each institution in key areas such as beds, ...
(Date:5/9/2017)...  Demonstrating its commitment to representing research- based ... Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) today ... now have to meet new research and development ... join PhRMA. "By putting in place ... clear message that being a member of PhRMA ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... Texas , May 5, 2017   Provista , ... with more than 200,000 customers, today announced Jim Cunniff ... a wealth of executive and business experience to Provista, including ... compounding pharmacy in California . He assumed ... "Jim is a great fit for Provista," says ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: