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Senate Finance Leaders Ask how Medicare, Medicaid Changes Can Break Down Barriers, Improve Care in Open Letter to Mental Health Community
WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called on the mental health care community today to share input on how to improve the mental health system in the U.S.
“The lack of access to mental health care and the stigma of treatment are serious problems we have to fix, particularly with so many veterans coming home with post-traumatic stress,” Senator Baucus said. “Our duty to get veterans the care they need doesn’t stop with physical wounds. It means getting our veterans top-notch mental health care as well.”
“With one in four Americans impacted by a mental health disorder every year, America needs a better understanding of the challenges and barriers patients face when it comes to accessing quality treatment and care,” said Hatch. “By bringing together mental health specialists in the private and public sectors, Senator Baucus and I are working to gain critical insight into how the millions of Americans and families coping with a mental illness can be better served.”
Noting in an open letter that high-quality treatment can be successful but remains underutilized, Senators Baucus and Hatch asked three key questions:
1. What administrative and legislative barriers prevent Medicare and Medicaid recipients from obtaining the mental and behavioral health care they need?
2. What are the key policies that have led to improved outcomes for beneficiaries in programs that have tried integrated care models?
3. How can Medicare and Medicaid be cost-effectively reformed to improve access to and quality of care for people with mental and behavioral health needs?
NASW is seeking social work input to help answer these three questions. How would you answer these questions? Please submit your answers to Kay Paksoy, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 12th, 2013.