Walking the Tightrope on Mental Health Coverage

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ron Lieber published Walking the Tightrope on Mental Health Coverage in the New York Times in December, 2012 in response to the looming crisis of mental health care coverage in America. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, in conjunction with the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity Act, insurance companies are being forced to provide more coverage for mental health conditions. Mr. Lieber's article clearly points out that, as a result of this legislation, more and more families will be "covered" in terms of mental healthcare. One key problem is this: just who is going to be treating all of these newly covered mental health patients?  

Currently, the U.S. already faces a shortage of psychiatrists, especially child and adolescent psychiatrists. In my experience, there is an even greater shortage of board certified, knowledgeable physicians who will take the time to explain to you and your loved ones the nature of the problem at hand and the appropriate treatment plan. I agree with Mr. Lieber's article that we are at the beginning of what could become a very long and arduous tightrope walk in mental health care, and I am concerned that insurance companies will try to stretch the limits of physicians by demanding they take on more and more patients while providing fewer and fewer resources.

-Dr. Tim