Medicare Pays Most Consistently (Why NC Mental Health Reform Continues to Crash & Burn): HELLO NC PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
Isn’t It Time for Real Reform?
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Ivan J. Miller © Copyright 2010
Although parity legislation has passed almost everywhere, a new mental health funding disparity has emerged, Disparity 2.0. Psychiatric hospitals are closing. Mental Health Provider reimbursements are well below the level of those for physical health care. Treatment rates are flat or falling. The cause of Disparity 2.0 is the current U.S. health insurance system that relies on multiple insurers who cover the population with a series of temporary health insurance plans. The only funding systems that have parity for mental health and physical health are single, unified, and transparent systems. It is time for mental health advocates to campaign for a real system change......In addition, the behavior of the mental health professional organizations and health care economists has been inappropriate to the reality of the situation. Instead of the recognizing and protesting the continuing discriminatory funding of mental health services, mental health advocates and professional organizations have been touting the victory of parity legislation.....
Are there systems that do not discriminate against mental health patients?
In the U.S., the exception to declining reimbursements for the past two decades is the Medicare system. Medicare reimbursements have risen 21% since 1990. Medicare reimbursements are negotiated transparently under public scrutiny. Professional organizations are permitted to reason with Medicare about the need to reimburse providers adequately in order to maintain the infrastructure of mental health services. The consequence is that Medicare reimbursements have increased with inflation and have not followed the decline of insurance reimbursements.....
Comparison of annual earnings for various professions, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008
Primary care physicians
Psychologists who provide individual and family services
Auto Mechanics who work at a dealer
Mental health and substance abuse workers
Marriage and family therapists