ParityRegistry.Org: A Growing Grass Roots Efforts to Ensure Coverage for Mental Health
May 29, 2018
Originally published in Cain Brothers’ Industry Insights, May 22, 2018
I just returned from HLTH, a first-year conference focused on innovation in healthcare. Behavioral healthcare was a large focus area of the conference; and out-front on that issue and giving what I thought was the most inspiring, call-to-action speech of the conference was Patrick Kennedy. Patrick is a former congressman from Rhode Island who was the lead sponsor for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act, which was passed in 2008, or 10 years ago.
Taking from Patrick’s website, TheKennedyForum.org, the law “requires health plans to cover mental health, eating disorders, and addiction benefits the same way they cover physical health.” In other words, the law was established so that mental health would be covered by an insurance plan no differently than heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Unfortunately, as Patrick shared in his moving speech, despite the law’s passing nearly 10 years ago, discriminatory practices are still taking place against those seeking mental health and addiction services.
So, the fight for him continues and he shared that those denied services for the treatment of mental health and addiction can go to TheKennedyForum.org to take advantage of the site’s Parity Tools, including its Parity Registry, where “consumers can learn to file an appeal with their health plan, send a complaint directly to the state enforcement officials after being wrongfully denied coverage for mental health or addiction treatment services.” From these reports, which are being filed “at the grass roots level” by the people being denied services, The Kennedy Forum can leverage this aggregated data on denials to notify relevant state officials and help “shape public policy and influence future legislation.”
Watching Patrick’s passion on the subject when speaking to the audience, driven by his deep desire to help those in need, I am confident that he will be successful in seeing through his vision that mental healthcare should truly achieve parity with physical healthcare. But, like any great cause, it cannot be accomplished by one person. So, let’s all help by getting the word out on The Kennedy Forum and www.parityregistry.org. By working together, lives will not only be changed, they will be saved.
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