Mental health experts call for blend of medical and behavioral payments in healthcare reform

Health Care Reform UpdatesExperts in mental health industry are requesting that medical providers such as psychologists take on an important role in health care reform, as they bring about new initiatives for reimbursement that would combine behavioral and medical health payments.

Among the primary criticisms that U.S. healthcare has received over the years is that its method of providing health care identifies medical and behavioral services as independent and not as important as physical health services. Furthermore, preventative efforts make up only 5 percent of the total expenditures for healthcare.

Along with the increasing need to reform healthcare’s ever-increasing costs, both current laws and legislation currently under consideration are being reviewed to make certain that tomorrow’s healthcare will tell a different story from the present circumstance.

According to Nancy Cheak-Zamora, Ph.D., American psychology departments were compared to those in other countries in order to identify the elements that were most effective in the implementation of the healthcare reform’s new policies. What they discovered was that many mental health professionals, particularly psychologists, generally function independently. However, the new regulations will encourage these experts “to develop a medical team approach, one that can tackle many different aspects of a disease.”

This new legislation for healthcare professionals promotes bundle payment techniques , the development of accountable care organizations (ACOs) , and the examination of best practices. ACOs are formal organizations made up of both general and specialist practitioner teams who work together in an effort to provide superior patient care.

These types of changes may lead to a significant alteration in the way these experts run their practices, including those in rehabilitation and other forms of mental healthcare such as psychology.


 

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