Despite California’s Proactive Stance, Achieving Mental Health Parity Still Remains Difficult

The Kaiser Health News (8/14, Gold) reports that despite California’s “proactive stance…in enforcing” mental health parity laws, it is still “proving difficult to ensure mental patients truly have equal access to treatment,” as demonstrated by difficulties encountered by Kaiser Permanente patients that resulted in fines against the health maintenance organization and actions taken by the California Department of Managed Health Care (DHMC). Problems achieving mental health parity are not just restricted to Kaiser, however. Last year, the DMHC found that “of 26 managed care insurers…zero were able to prove that they were fully in compliance.” Randall Hagar, director of government relations for the California Psychiatric Association, said that “after many years of ‘abysmal’ enforcement, ‘now we have regulators who seem to be enthusiastic.’” Still, problems remain, because “access to care…is also an issue of capacity.” There are simply not enough mental health professionals to serve everyone who needs help.

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— “Achieving Mental Health Parity: Slow Going Even In ‘Pace Car’ State,” Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News, August 13, 2015.

Posted in In The News.