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JAMA Article Examines Behavioral Health Parity Efforts Nationwide

For behavioral health directors

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A recent article in JAMA —  citing data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — reported that less than two-thirds of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other serious mental health conditions received care for their illness in 2018, while the same study showed only one in five people with an opioid use disorder obtained treatment. 

The findings attributed the lack of care to stigma, barriers to care due to cost and clinical resources, and the overall scarcity of clinicians treating patients with mental health and substance use orders.

According to the article, “These factors compound the difficulty of finding a clinician willing to accept patients associated with only ‘in-network’ payments for their services.” In addition, the article notes, “A 2014 study using data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey found that in 2009-2010, nearly half of psychiatrists surveyed did not accept network commercial insurance payment or Medicare, and more than half did not accept Medicaid,” adding that psychiatrists have one of the lowest Medicaid participation rates among medical specialists.