cstnprapp12.centerstone.lan
Home / Health & Wellness Articles / Mental Health / Three Ways Elected Leaders Can Change Healthcare

Three Ways Elected Leaders Can Change Healthcare

We are witnessing the first reduction in life expectancy for young American adults since the 1960s as a result of overdoses and suicides. This chilling trend has left a lasting impact on our families, communities, and economy. According to a 2017 National Safety Council survey, 70% of employers reported their business had been affected by prescription drug abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that prescription opioid misuse costs $78.5 billion each year.

Despite the growing national attention toward mental health and addiction treatment, access to treatment is still met with immense barriers. For anyone who has attempted to get help for a loved one struggling with a mental illness or addiction, you most likely experienced a process that was difficult to navigate, or at worst, entirely unavailable. Our nation and elected leaders have the responsibility, and more importantly, the capability to turn this trend around.

With elections and new policies for 2019 on the horizon, here are three ways elected leaders, regulators and stakeholders can transform health costs and improve quality and access to life-saving mental health and addiction treatment:

Include Mental Health in Health Coverage

If there’s ever been a time to emphasize the importance of access to mental health services within our current commercial and public insurance plans, it’s right now. Often times, lawmakers will reduce consumer access to insurance in an effort to lower healthcare spending. However, this does not solve the root problem or save money. When consumers do not have access to mental health and addiction treatment services, their conditions typically worsen and they are more likely to require expensive forms of care to get back on track.

Physical and mental health are interrelated and contribute to a person’s overall health. For example, if an individual has diabetes and severe depression, treating their diabetes without addressing their depression will not get this person better. Public and commercial health plans should continue to safeguard the essential health benefits to ensure individuals have access to the support they need, when they need it most.

Give Patients Access to Timely Care

Today, the most costly form of healthcare is healthcare that does not work. Individuals in the depths of severe depression or on the brink of relapse need help and support today, not in a month, as is often the case due to significant wait times. Fortunately, we have the technology and capability to provide patients with care, but many hurdles stand in the way of providing timely care.

We must break down regulatory barriers that limit access to timely care, whether it’s received in-person or via telehealth. One way to do this is for lawmakers and regulators to continue to advance provisions that expand telehealth while simultaneously accelerating incentives for providers and payers to have real-time, interoperable electronic health records and claims data. Modernizing the way we deliver care holds the potential to save lives and curb healthcare spending.

Implement Research-Based Treatments

For our nation to truly change the way healthcare is delivered today, we must identify effective standardized sets of treatments for addiction treatment and mental health supported by research and ensure they’re implemented. Establishing standards of care will not only increase the quality and the patient experience; it will transform lives.

There is tremendous opportunity to improve our healthcare delivery system, positively impact the economy, and, most importantly, ensure that our family and friends have access to the best science of care. We can move the needle by working to close the gaps in care, improve outcomes and ensure that individuals in need of mental health and addiction care have access to not only the best care, but the right care at the right time to progress on a path to recovery.

Lauren Conaboy, MSSW, is Vice President of National Policy at Centerstone.

Contact Us

Related Posts

Legislative Advocacy

Centerstone Commends Senate Leaders for Passage to Establish a Nationwide Three-Digit Phone Number for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unanimously cleared a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Gardner, Baldwin, Moran, and Reed on Dec. 11, 2019, to designate 988 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. Centerstone applauds Senators Cory Gardner, Tammy Baldwin, and Jerry Moran for their efforts in passing the bill– ...

Legislative Advocacy

It’s time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number

First published on TheHill.com. The success of 9-1-1, our nation’s emergency service hotline, is undeniable. In an instant, Americans can reach police, fire and emergency services from anywhere in the country. It’s hard to fathom that before the adoption of 9-1-1, Americans had to dial the individual numbers to their local police station, fire department ...

Legislative Advocacy

CEO David Guth’s Statement on FCC’s Hearing

David C. Guth, Jr., CEO of Centerstone, has issued a statement on the Federal Communications Commission’s Dec. 12 hearing suggesting 988 as a three-digit phone line for suicide prevention and mental health crisis response: “We applaud the Federal Communications Commission and Chairman Ajit Pai for their on-going leadership to designate 988 as a national three-digit ...

Legislative Advocacy

Lauren Conaboy Named to Business Insider’s Healthcare Power Players List

Business Insider selected Lauren Conaboy for its Healthcare Power Players List. The list features 34 healthcare leaders shaping healthcare policy and legislation. As Centerstone’s VP of National Policy, Lauren works to advance policy and regulatory initiatives that seek to ensure everyone has access to mental health and addiction care services. Currently, Lauren is leading a ...

No image set - Centerstone logo
Legislative Advocacy

Over 40 Organizations Urge Congress to Adopt a Nationwide Three-Digit Phone Number for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Support for the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act is led by national organizations dedicated to increasing Americans’ access to quality, evidence-based mental health care and suicide prevention services Centerstone and a coalition of over 40 other behavioral healthcare organizations and nonprofits extend its strong support for H.R. 4194 – The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act ...