Mental Health awareness

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U.S. Enforcing Law For Equal Insurance Coverage For Mental and Physical Illnesses

George Indest HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On October 27, 2016, President Obama made one more major health care initiative as his presidency comes to an end. The administration is stepping up enforcement of laws that require equal insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses. Officials are hoping this decision will help combat an opioid overdose epidemic.

Drug Addiction Equal to Mental Illness.

The White House Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force (Task Force) said that insurers need to understand that coverage for the treatment of drug addiction must be comparable to that for mental health conditions like depression and schizophrenia. According to the administration, insurers may not require prior approval for drugs to treat opioid addiction if they do not impose similar restrictions on drugs prescribed for physical and mental illnesses.

Additionally, the Obama administration said that insurers clearly violated the law if they charged higher co-payments for mental health care or if they imposed stricter limits on the number of visits to mental health care professionals.

Federal laws and rules such as The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), have been adopted with bipartisan support, but the Task Force found that compliance in these laws has been slow in being implemented.
The Task Force, which President Obama created in March 2016, called for more frequent audits of health care plans and warned insurers against imposing stricter requirements on mental health services than on other types of medical health care. Click here to read the Presidential Memorandum from the White House about the Task Force.

According to the administration, about one in five American adults experience some kind of mental illness each year. Additionally, more than 20 million American adults have a “substance use disorder” involving drugs or alcohol.

The recognition and proper treatment of mental illness, as well as drug addiction, is extremely important. To learn more, click here to read one of my prior blogs.

To learn more on how others are trying to expand the awareness of mental health, click here to read one of prior blogs on this topic.

If you are a mental health care professional, click here to learn how The Health Law Firm can benefit you.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in the Representation of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marital and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to psychiatrists, mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, medical malpractice investigations, business transactions, contracts, structuring business ventures, clinical privileges actions, professional licensure matters, Board hearings, business litigation, Medicare and Medicaid audits, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

Often the early advice and representation of an experienced health law attorney can help avoid discipline which will be on your record for a lifetime.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Pear, Robert. “U.S. enforcing laws to help fight opioid abuse.” The New York Times. (November 7, 2016). Web.

Gold, Jenny. “Federal Panel Calls For Stricter Enforcement Of Mental Health Care Parity Law.” NPR. (October 31, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.


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“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Walgreens To Expand Mental Health Services to Raise Awareness

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On May 10, 2016, Walgreens announced it will expand mental health services, including access to behavioral health treatment via telemedicine, to expand customer options for treatment, screenings and awareness. To improve overall mental health treatment, Walgreens will offer access to 1,000 therapists and psychiatrists via Breakthrough, an MDLive telemedicine company. Walgreens recently began a relationship with MDLive, a telemedicine company, to provide customers with around-the-clock access to physicians, as well as Mental Health America.

Mental Health Conditions.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one in five Americans suffers mental health conditions, which is greater than medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. But patient adherence to prescriptions is worse for mental health conditions than physical illnesses, so Walgreens is hoping that its pharmacists and nurse practitioners can have an impact.

“In mental health, in particular, adherence (to prescriptions) is a major, major challenge,” Walgreens chief medical officer Dr. Harry Leider said in an interview. Less than 50% of Americans who are prescribed medications to treat mental health conditions take them as directed, if at all, Walgreens said. “Pharmacies have always been oriented around supporting patients who are on medications for mental health conditions, but we are providing even more training around medication issues,” Leider said.

The Push for Expansion of Mental Health Care.

Walgreens is one of several large drugstores, like CVS and Wal-Mart, to push further beyond a pharmacy chain’s traditional role of dispensing and managing customer prescription needs. The pharmacy giant believes it can make a difference given six million Americans shop at the drugstore chain’s stores each day and some two million people come to digital properties like the company’s web site and mobile.

In further the expansion, Walgreens is working with Mental Health America, a nonprofit that will help the drugstore giant connect its customers to free community-based screenings for mental health conditions that include depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders. Walgreens will also work with other experts in the field to improve training and education of its more than 27,000 pharmacists and more than 1,100 nurse practitioners and physician assistants employed at its drugstores. To read more on Mental Health America, click here.

Mental Health America and Walgreens has set a goal to screen three million people by the end of 2017 to improve care and patient awareness.

 

Mental Health Parity Act.

The law has finally recognized that mental illness is as serious as physical illness, through passage of the Mental Health Parity Act.  This is long, long overdue.  The problem now is the shortage of psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health counselors and social workers it will take to treat the greater number of patients covered by insurance paying for such treatment.  The effort by Walgreens to address this issue shows great business planning foresight and insightful planning by one of the largest healthcare providers in our nation. Cudos to Walgreens.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Pharmacies and Pharmacists.

The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists and pharmacies in DEA, DOH and FDA investigations, qui tam and whistleblower cases, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, administrative hearings, inspections and audits. The firm’s attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Japsen, Bruce. “Walgreens To Expand Mental Health Services.” Forbes. (May 10, 2016). Web.

Johnson, Steven. “Walgreens aims to promote greater mental health awareness.” Modern Healthcare. (May 10, 2016). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Mental health care, Mental Health America, MD Live, Walgreens increases treatment for mental health care, mental health awareness, National Alliance for Mental Illness, legal counsel for mental health care professionals, mental health law attorney, legal counsel for pharmacists and pharmacies, psychiatrist attorney, psychologist defense attorney, mental health counselor lawyer, social worker defense counsel, pharmacy law attorney, Mental HEalth Parity Act, health law, The Health Law Firm

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

U. S. Surgeon General Names Mental Health Third “Critical Pillar” Of Wellness and Health

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
In a recent interview, U. S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that mental health is the third “critical pillar” of wellness, along with nutrition and exercise. In Murthy’s role as Surgeon General, it is his responsibility to provide Americans with the best information for maximizing their heath in every way possible. That’s exactly why Murthy has made emotional well-being a priority during his tenure, emphasizing that emotional wellness is just as important as physical wellness.

Three Critical Pillars.

According to Murthy, nutrition and exercise are the “two critical pillars” when it comes to health and wellness. But the third pillar of the equation, he added, involves mental health. In a recent interview with HuffPost editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington he stated, “Emotional well-being is more than the absence of a mental illness,” Murthy said. “It’s that resource within each of us which allows us to reach ever closer to our full potential, and which also enables us to be resilient in the face of adversity.”

Significant Impacts on Mental Health.

As overall mental health and emotional well-being has gained more attention and more research is conducted, the more its “significant impacts” are realized on the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other neurological conditions, he said. “So this is why I have been focusing on emotional well-being because I believe that it is the fuel that makes everything else possible,” Murthy said.

Murthy also spoke about the importance of rest during the recent interview. Many people view sleep as a luxury instead of a “biological necessity,” Murthy said. He explained how many don’t realize that lack of sleep is associated with health complications like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and mood disturbances.

“What you quickly realize once you commit to getting more sleep is it can increase your productivity, it can improve your mood,” Murthy said. “And that doesn’t just help you at work, but it helps you be the kind of person you want to be with your family and your friends and that’s ultimately what matters most.”

Click here to watch the video of the recent interview conducted and learn more.

To learn more about mental health issues and the importance of research and knowledge, click here to read one of my prior blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in the Representation of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marital and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to psychiatrists, mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, medical malpractice investigations, business transactions, contracts, structuring business ventures, clinical privileges actions, professional licensure matters, Board hearings, business litigation, Medicare and Medicaid audits, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

Often the early advice and representation of an experienced health law attorney can help avoid discipline which will be on your record for a lifetime.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

“Surgeon General Names Mental Health Third “Critical Pillar” Of Wellness.” AHLA Weekly Bulletin. (July 25, 2016). Web.

Diamond, Madeline. “Why Mental Health Is A Top Priority For The U.S. Surgeon General.” Huffington Post. (July 25, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com

KeyWords: Mental Health awareness, three pillars of wellness, critical pillars of health and wellness, legal representation for mental health professional, mental health lawyer, U.S. Surgeon General, emphasizing emotional well-being, legal counsel for emotional health professionals, mental health defense lawyer, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999. Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

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