Insurance reimbursement rates for mental health providers are too low to operate quality services. Inpatient and outpatient settings are struggling to survive. There is talk of community-based resources but no public structure or incentive for the private market. In the meantime, mentally ill people are overwhelming the justice system and the few low cost providers that are there. We (mental health providers) are ready to help primary care address this problem, but there is no financial incentive for physicians to expand their billable services to include mental health, knowing the reimbursement rates would not cover the cost of adding that provider. How and when will the ACA implement and incentivize mental health parity?
They have, but I don’t know that it’s been determined what that really looks like. It took them 5 years after the Mental Health Parity Act to come up with the first rules. And the essential health benefits through the ACA maintain that everyone has to receive mental health services. But, to me, it is unclear what that means as a practical matter.