Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform passed on Sunday, March 21, 2010 and is now going to the President for his signature.

The following provisions were included in H.R. 3590 that will
help millions of children and adults with mental disorders.

* Health insurance market reforms that prohibit pre-existing
conditions exclusions and annual or lifetime limits, provide guaranteed
issue and renewal requirements, and allow dependent young adults to
remain on parental coverage to age 26;

* Essential plan benefits that include mandatory mental health,
substance use, rehabilitation, habilitation, prescription drug and
preventive services;

* Mental health and substance use parity requirement for exchange

* Within the private health care system, integrating mental
health into primary care with the establishment of interprofessional,
interdisciplinary health teams to support primary care practices;

* Medicaid eligibility extension to individuals up to 133% of the
federal poverty level, including childless single adults;

* Chronic care coordination fostered through a Medicaid state plan
option allowing beneficiaries with one or more chronic conditions or
serious mental illnesses to designate a health home, and permitting the
designation of a community mental health center as an eligible health

* Children's Health Insurance Program maintenance through 2019,
with states continuing to provide services or offering a providing a
procedure to provide for coverage through the exchange;

* Long-term services coverage through the new Community Living
Assistance Services and Supports national insurance program and
Community First Choice Medicaid Option to help individuals with
disabilities receive essential care at home or in the community;

* Workforce development through mental health and behavioral
health education and training grants to assist providers specializing in
and providing services to children, adolescents and adults and loan
forgiveness to child mental health professionals;

* Prevention and wellness services through community
transformation grants and enhanced services for special populations,
including people with disabilities; ensuring that the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration is consulted on the
development of strategies pertaining to behavioral health and directing
the Clinical Preventive Services Task Force to consider best practices
presented by scientific societies in the development of clinical
preventive recommendations;

* Strengthening Medicare through an extension restoring
reimbursement cuts for psychotherapy services within the outpatient
mental health benefit and requiring Part D plans to provide full
coverage of six classes of clinically sensitive medications, including
anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and anti-convulsants;

Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D., Policy Director

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