The AMA’s Council on Medical Service Report 9 was a comprehensive review of current barriers to and limitations in access to mental health services. In addition, the report contained several recommendations, calling on the AMA to take these actions:
• Reaffirm its existing policies that support parity of mental health benefits.
• Reaffirm its existing policy opposing the carving out of treatment for mental illness.
• Advocate for providing accurate information regarding mental illness to increase public awareness.
• Advocate for improving public awareness regarding effective treatment of mental illness.
• Advocate for ensuring the supply of psychiatrists, especially in rural areas and for children.
• Advocate for reducing financial barriers to treatment.
• Advocate that psychiatrists be reimbursed for evaluation and management services by both private and public payers.
• Advocate for direct access to a psychiatrist in insurance carriers’ referral processes.
• Continue working with specialty societies to identify and eliminate additional barriers.
CMS Report 9 may be accessed on the Web at www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/5183.html.
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