The Behavioral Health Field Must Address Quality – Part 1

Last week, the President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), Margaret O’Kane, reported that quality of care in the United States did not improve in 2008. She went on to say that she believes health reform must address quality. A review of the report makes it abundantly clear to this author that one [...]

Parity Receives DOL Boost: Employer Benefit Plans Cannot Evade The Law

Those of you with no legal background, brace yourselves for this opening line: The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) – which is housed within the Department of Labor and oversees ERISA – through their Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance, states that Parity will be subject to the “anti-abuse” proposed rule – 29 C.F.R. [...]

Health Plans Face Daunting Tasks. Parity Not High On List of To-Dos

I am attending the California Association of Health Plans annual conference this week and thought I would share some of what I am observing. For starters, Howard Khan, CEO of LA Care Health Plan and Chairman of CAHP Board provided a keynote that immediately established the context where health plans are concerned. He pointed to [...]

The Commonwealth Fund Reports on Suicide -Access and Equity in Coverage Make A Difference

The Commonwealth Fund has released it 2009 report titled: “Aiming Higher – Results from A State Scorecard on Health System Performance” and the evidence is irrefutable where suicide prevention is concerned.  States that demonstrate improved access to mental health care, especially among the most vulnerable populations, show a dramatic decrease in the rate of suicide. [...]

Are Health Reform and Health Plans Mutually Exclusive?

Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will take up the fate of at least one reform proposal. On the eve of that vote, the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) released a report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) demonstrating the bill will wind up costing more than its authors are admitting. Talking heads are exploding in an uproar [...]

Parity Regulations & Technical Guidance Delayed until after January 1, 2010. Can Pamela Hyde Get Approved and Help?

Surprised about the delay? No, but employers and plans will need to move forward carefully, doing everything they can to comply reasonably and in “good faith” until we receive clarification.

On October 2nd, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote to House and Senate lawmakers saying that the administration “aims” to issue regulations for the one-year old [...]

Reform Package Gains Steam – Stigma Dealt Another in a Series of Crushing Blows

The Senate Finance Committee has wrapped up its debate over the most significant changes in the U.S. health-care system in decades. In the process, they have made the bill more attractive to Republicans and moderate Blue Dog Democrats by making some crucial concessions. Namely, they have agreed to eliminate the legislation’s most punitive taxes and [...]