The following information was cut and pasted from the SAMHSA website. It is the up-to-date information regarding healthcare reform with regard to substance abuse and mental health treatment. This particular information is of particular interest to me because I work in these fields. And these issues intersect in my life every day in many ways. I believe (through and through) that these issues are worth spending my days around. Some people I know and some people I care about have struggles with these issues that swallow up their lives. So the idea of equal access to treatment is almost worth the national debt.
But along with parity comes the idea that treatment for both mental health and substance abuse have a mandate to improve their efficacy to coincide with their accessibility. In their current state, these treatment modalities offer stigma, uncertainty, an extremely low percentage of successful outcomes, options that are designed for the providers benefit and not the recipients- i.e. 28 day in-patient- 90 day outpatient- etc, the focus of substance abuse and mental health will need to expand from treatment to recovery/resilience if it is to be taken seriously. As science moves us forward in understanding, it reveals to us that the brain effects caused by substance and chemical imbalance are lifetime issues for the majority of us and we need to look towards caring for those issues with longterm solutions. Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care are the options that the movers and shakers are looking towards. We might have much better outcomes when we start to treat the whole person for the whole of their lives. ps- if you are inteterested in recovery i recommend you start reading the work of william white at www.williamwhitepapers.com
On October 3rd, 2008, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was signed into law. This new Federal law requires group health insurance plans (those with more than 50 insured employees) that offer coverage for mental illness and substance use disorders to provide those benefits in no more restrictive way than all other medical and surgical procedures covered by the plan. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act does not require group health plans to cover mental health (MH) and substance use disorder (SUD) benefits but, when plans do cover these benefits, MH and SUD benefits must be covered at levels that are no lower and with treatment limitations that are no more restrictive than would be the case for the other medical and surgical benefits offered by the plan.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act: Eliminates the practice of unequal health treatment. This practice has kept individuals with untreated substance use and mental health disorders from receiving critically important treatment services. Providing parity provides insurance coverage for substance use and mental health disorders equally to other chronic health conditions like diabetes, asthma, and hypertension.
Improves access to much needed mental health and substance use disorder treatment services through more equitable coverage. Millions of Americans with mental health (MH) and/or substance use disorders (SUD) fail to receive the treatment they need to get and stay well. The lack of health insurance coverage for MH and SUD treatment has contributed to a large gap in treatment services. Improving coverage of MH and SUD services will help more people get the care they need.
Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is person-centered and builds on the strengths and resilience of individuals, families, and communities to achieve abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life for those with or at risk of alcohol and drug problems. SAMHSA/CSAT
Note: Prevention Services also play a major role in developing ROSC.
ROSC will require developing supports and services that provide self-directed approaches which respect the role of personal choice and commitment in pursuit of health and wellness. Developing a ROSC also requires helpinging engage people and families in support networks in their communities, to ease their integration back into the community and get their lives back on track. Linking people to services and supports helps sustain long-term recovery. The services and supports may include resources such as:
recovery centers in your community;
recovery activities and websites;
mutual help groups;
faith based supports;
education and vocational;
mental health services;
medical care, including HIV Services;
financial and budget counseling;
legal, and advocacy services;
alcohol/drug and gambling services;
prevention for children and adolescents; and
parenting and family services.
Developing a Recovery Oriented System of Care that is built on the strengths and resilience of individuals, families and communities who are actively taking responsibility for their health and wellness drives the continued efforts to build a foundation for recovery in our future .