Mental Health Facility hopes Affordable Care Act can help patien - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Mental Health Facility hopes Affordable Care Act can help patients and facility

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Psychiatrists hope the Affordable Care Act can help patients in need of mental health treatment.  A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association of Psychiatry shows nearly half of psychiatrists don't accept private health insurance because it doesn't cover their costs.  But, that could change under the new federal law.

People who treat mental health say the changes with the Affordable Care Act are a step in the right direction.  However, there are still some hurdles to overcome.
   
For psychiatrists like David Goldman, it's been a struggle over the years treating people with mental illness.

"What we're seeing is there are limits on the amount of care individuals can get with regard to mental health.  Different insurance companies have different levels of care and different caps on what patients can receive," Goldman said. 

That has put a strain on both patients and mental health services.  According to Mark Twain Behavioral Health CEO Michael Cantrell, insurance companies aren't fully reimbursing the clinic for its services.  That's hurting the clinic because it can't hire more workers to help those who need treatment.  Cantrell hopes that can change with the Affordable Care Act. 

"One of the things we're hoping for with the Affordable Care Act is that in the future the health insurance will pay for mental health care the way they pay for physical health care and not actually distinguish between the two and discriminate for the mental health care patient," Cantrell said.

He hopes this change can open the door for those who need treatment.  Even though the behavioral health center has many people coming in, psychiatrists know there's more out there that simply can't afford it.
   
"At times I think it can deter patients from seeking out mental health care because they don't have the financial resources to pay.  Sometimes they don't have enough money to pay for their co-pay and co-insurance when they come in for services," Cantrell said.

Another issue both Cantrell and Goldman say hurts patients is insurance companies forcing them to go on cheaper medication for treatment before they can be prescribed a more expensive medication. 
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