“The center will increase the visibility of mental health policy issues and solutions among the public, policymakers, and the community, working to discover and promote best practices in the treatment of mental illness and addiction,” said Morehouse President and Dean Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D.
“Both Patrick Kennedy and David Satcher are extraordinary leaders, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them,” said APA President Paul Summergrad, M.D., who attended the event where the announcement was made.
Kennedy emphasized the core need to fully implement and enforce mental health parity. “The promise is there, but the practice is not,” he said. “We need full disclosure and transparency by insurance companies to be able to compare mental health and physical health benefits.”
Another way to overcome the artificial division between physical and mental health is to integrate care, a practice now being tested at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, said Satcher.
“We volunteered to take over mental health services in the emergency room and improved the care of patients by reducing waiting times by 80 %, use of restraints by 70%, and costs by 40%,” he said. “At Grady, we treat people as whole persons and respond to their needs, whatever they may be.”
For more in Psychiatric News about parity issues, see APA President Paul Summergrad's recent column: "Parity Enforcement: A Top Priority." A poster describing patients' rights under the Affordable Care Act and parity law is available here.
--aml (Image: David Hathcox/PN)