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Most med schools offer students poor mental health coverage, imperiling students, patients
Date:9/6/2011

she said. The number of patient visits allowed by the plans was also quite variable, ranging from 8 visits to 150 visits annually.

Senior author Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said: "Medical students experience higher levels of psychological distress than their peers, including depression and suicidality. Such distress correlates with decreases in empathy and altruism among medical students and with increases in medical errors in doctors in training.

"Given that medical students are often leery about seeking treatment in the first place, requiring students to pay huge co-payments or coinsurance for mental health or substance abuse treatment might foreclose obtaining needed psychiatric care," he said. "This is bad for the students and bad for patients."

Boyd noted that many ailments persist into later years, so ensuring the ability to receive early treatment is essential.

The authors urge U.S. medical schools to "move immediately to improve student insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse disorders." Nardin added: "The best remedy for this situation would be a national single-payer health insurance program, a program that would offer comprehensive benefits while requiring no co-pays or coinsurance. That message needs to be heard once again in Washington."


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

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