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Health Integrated Launches Unique Service for Health Plans Preparing for Federal Mental Health Parity Regulations
Date:3/17/2009

Company's strategic consultation and planning service identifies areas to mitigate costs associated with compliance while integrating best practices in mental and behavioral health coverage

TAMPA, Fla., March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health Integrated, the leading Targeted Population Health Management company, has extended its health management program to include a new service designed to assist the nation's health plans in complying with the Federal Mental Health Parity (MHP) and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which takes effect in October 2009.

Through its exclusive Synthesis Mental Health Parity Planning(TM) service, Health Integrated will help health plan customers quickly interpret the pending federal MHP laws that impact them, and recommend both behavioral health benefits modifications and health management changes needed to achieve compliance and mitigate the increased costs that are predicted to come with the new legislation. The Company has long provided similar services for its customers to assist them in effectively complying with their state parity regulations.

Legal and health experts estimate that compliance with the laws -- which will enhance behavioral health benefits and make them accessible to more members -- will drive up behavioral claims costs for insurers approximately 40 percent, or $2 million for every 100,000 covered lives. As a result, health plans will be faced with the prospect of passing these costs on to employers, and ultimately to consumers, in the form of higher rates. Leveraging Synthesis MHP Planning, health plans can get a fast turnaround evaluation of a number of options for mitigating these increased costs through improved health management approaches. For example, carving-in behavioral health management could save a health plan a minimum of $400,000 for every 100,000 covered lives, a substantial savings, according to Shan Padda, chief executive officer of Health Integrated.

"We applaud advances in health care policy that ensure equal coverage for all conditions. Yet changes in the law don't need to translate to significant increases in costs," Padda says. "We believe that health plans can ward off anticipated costs while still offering exceptional benefits and services for their members. By maximizing existing medical health management resources, for example, health plans can save money by also managing behavioral health benefits in-house."

Though the implementation of the new law begins in less than seven months, there remains substantial confusion in the industry about how the Act will impact health plans, and how it overlaps with existing parity laws at the state level. With extensive senior staff experience managing behavioral health benefits, Health Integrated is uniquely positioned to help its customers interpret the law.

"Health Integrated helped us navigate the complexities of New York's mental health parity law without incurring significant, unnecessary costs," says Jay Pomerantz, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, HealthNow New York. "With their deep industry expertise, proven programs and rapid implementation process, we were better situated to meet both the law's requirements and our member's behavioral health needs, while also forging a stronger relationship with our contracted behavioral health providers."

"Through Synthesis MHP Planning, we'll find the best, most effective way for health plans to implement strategies that comply with the law," says Mike Forrester, executive vice president of Synthesis operations at Health Integrated and a behavioral health management expert with more than 20 years experience. "We are able to shed light on ways our customers can reduce the administrative costs of managing across medical and behavioral care, with savings realized directly by them versus an outsourced Managed Behavioral Health Organization."

Health Integrated's Synthesis MHP Planning includes:

  • A two-day on-site consultation with senior Health Integrated behavioral health experts that explores the health plan's behavioral health benefits structure, compliance levels with existing state mental health parity laws and an in-depth, 10-point evaluation of current behavioral health management approaches.
  • A comprehensive findings report on federal MHP impact on the plan, including an interpretation of both state and federal parity laws as well as recommended behavioral health benefits modifications in order to meet regulatory compliance.
  • A summary of the health plan's opportunities for mitigating costs related to MHP compliance, including proposed changes to existing behavioral health management approaches and a go-forward strategy for achieving the modifications.

Synthesis MHP Planning is part of the Company's Synthesis Health Management Services(R), a complete suite of medical and behavioral health management programs that can be purchased stand-alone or as a suite, depending on customer needs. Synthesis includes services for case management, physician review, nurse advice/triage, utilization management and behavioral health integration, an innovative carve-in service that assists health plans in integrating behavioral health management with medical management.

About Health Integrated

Health Integrated is a Targeted Population Health Management company dedicated to integrating health with life. Driven by a strong entrepreneurial culture, Health Integrated addresses the critical interplay between physical, psychological and social health. Working with health care providers, health plans and their members, Health Integrated drives improvements in health status, quality of life and clinical outcomes while reducing avoidable utilization and health care costs. For more information, visit http://www.healthintegrated.com.

    CONTACT:

    Mike Miniati, Health Integrated
    813-388-4030 or mminiati@healthintegrated.com

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit http://www.ereleases.com.


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SOURCE Health Integrated
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