On Wednesday June 27th, in San Antonio, Texas, the Mental Health America Regional Policy Council conducted the second in its series of nation issues forms on topics related to the Affordable Care Act. The panel of experts from academia, industry, economics and the peer leadership community addressed a regional audience on the topic of Accessing Treatment and Services People Need and Want. Panelists included Certified Peer Specialist Charles Willis of the Georgia Peer Support Resiliency Project; economist Dr. Howard Fleeter, author of a widely cited study on the costs of prior authorization; Marianne Burdison, LCSW, the Director of Product and Business Development at Cenpatico speaking about the cost effectiveness and outcomes of peer services in Medicaid managed care; and the renowned Dr. King Davis, from the University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work, outlining the policy implications of what was presented, and providing a call to action. Download the full Executive Summary of the Meeting.
Preceding the Issue Forum, David Doman, MS, RPH, of Johnson and Johnson, led a discussion on the need for expanded behavioral health quality measures. Mr. Doman also serves in several leadership roles on the National Quality Forum (NQF).
Charles Willis, Executive Director of the Georgia Peer Support Resiliency Project, set the tone for the issue forum by sharing a deeply personal story that was at once inspirational, and also a rallying cry for the imperative for peer support, self-determination and whole person perspective in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Charles went on to explain that real health care reform must come by supporting self-determination, which begins by asking people what they want, and what they need in order to be productive in the community.
Dr. Howard Fleeter, Principle Economist of Fleeter and Associates, Economic Analysis and Public Policy Research, explicitly demonstrated how Prior Authorization policies, contrary to what they are purported to do, not only do not save money, but they actually increase the usage of the most expensive services, such as crisis, emergency and inpatient, and substantially shift costs to other even more expensive systems like courts, jails and prisons.
Marianne Burdison, LCSW and the Director of Product and Business Development at Cenpatico, offered her presentation A Managed Care Perspective on Funding Services and Supports in the Public Sector. However, before Ms. Burdison did so, she took a few minutes to say how moved she was by Charles Willis's recovery story, and that for her too, the work that she does is very personal. She went on to explain that her goal is to create programs from the perspective of people working towards recovery. Marianne stressed that health care services must be whole-person focused and person- centered. She explained that the impact of mental health and physical health conditions is bi-directional. Ms. Burdison’s presentation can be found here.
Dr. King Davis, Directors of the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis at the University of Texas at Austin; Professor and Robert Lee Sutherford Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work, discussed how his experiences are reflected in the panelist presentations, beginning with the undeniable fact that the provision of mental health services is big business. It is incumbent on all of us, Dr. King urged, to create mental health literacy and to advocate that policy reflect a public health perspective.
The Issue Forum was sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Kaiser Health News
For more information about how you can get involved with the Regional Policy Council or attend an upcoming issue forum, contact Debbie Plotnick at email@example.com.