Health Policy

What does the 2016 election mean for behavioral health?

The results of the 2016 election portend significant changes to the health care sector.

Its implications open a Pandora’s Box of questions, and it’s fair to ask, “What does this election mean for behavioral health?” With the last decade’s reforms of mental health parity and Medicaid expansion, it’s this question that bubbles to the surface as the most pressing – and arguably the most interesting.

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Mental Health Parity: Progress and Implementation

As attention is gaining around parity and the implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act (MHPAEA), Beacon Health Options stands front and center in its efforts to help propel the law’s goals. It’s been an ongoing process.

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Coming Out vs. Coming of Age

As a young person, whenever I saw a “coming of age” movie like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or “The Breakfast Club” or even “Footloose,” I would become angry rather than entertained.

I never knew why. I now believe it was because, as a young, closeted gay person living with a newly divorced mother, nothing could have been more inconceivable than the idea I would one day “come of age” and live my own life.

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Barbecue, Martial Arts, and Measurement-Based Mental Health Systems

Serendipity made me a barbecue judge in Memphis, a martial arts student in Little Rock, and a psychiatrist/epidemiologist in a conference call about the implementation of measurement-based mental health care – this in the last several weeks. This serendipity also made it clear to me what all of these activities have in common: the need to quantify quality.

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Escaping the Iron Triangle of Health Care in Mental Health

It’s been called the “Iron Triangle of Health Care,” but sometimes I call it “The Panera Pick 2 Rule ” – whereby you have to choose between sandwich, soup, and salad, but you can only have two.

I assume you are familiar with Panera Bread, so let me tell you about the Iron Triangle and how a recent article in The Lancet may provide clues on how to disentangle that nearly legendary triangle in mental health.

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The £350 million per week question: What will Brexit really mean for mental health and the NHS?

On June 23, Britain, by way of public referendum and by a 52-48% margin, became the first member state to vote to leave the European Union (EU). Nobody had planned for this.

As a tiny amount of Brexit dust begins to settle, it remains to be seen exactly what this unprecedented decision will mean for the National Health Service (NHS) and mental health services in the United Kingdom.

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Asking the Right Questions About Gun Violence

In the wake of the recent nightclub shooting in Orlando, there are voices that are again loudly touting mental illness as a key target for preventing the repetition of such horrors.

Yet, as we wrote last year, researchers have already debunked the link between mental illness and gun violence. Instead, we found access to guns increases rates of suicide, but not of homicide. However, what most people don’t know is that, underlying all of this, there is policy prohibiting research from delving further into the issue and discovering where the evidence leads us.

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Hill Update: The Uphill Battle for the Mental Health Reform Act

In the midst of an election year and a national opioid addiction crisis, mental health is finally getting the attention it’s due.

The Mental Health Reform Act, which has already been approved by the Senate HELP Committee, is one of those efforts that is trying to right the ship to balance mental and physical health care.

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2016: A Year of Promise in the Fight Against Opioid Addiction

When it comes to addressing opiate addiction, it’s all beginning to come together.

Within mere days of each other, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a historic law holding great promise to curb the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines for prescribing opioids; and the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA) by a near-unanimous vote.

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News Flash: Mental Health Funding Gets Its Due

When it comes to government funding for mental health services, there’s good news and some bad news.

The good news is that the federal government is putting its money where its mouth is. President Obama recently announced that the administration is proposing for 2017 the expenditure of $500 million for a series of two-year mental health initiatives and $1.1 billion for new addiction treatment, prevention and recovery programs.

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