From APA President Paul Appelbaum, M.D.:
Indigent citizens of Oregon might have gained a temporary reprieve in terms of loss of prescription drug benefits, but it verges on barbaric that the state ever deprived people with mental illness of coverage for medication necessary to prevent a descent into psychosis.
There has been no reprieve on coverage for outpatient mental health and substance abuse services. Persons with chronic mental illness who rely on psychiatrists and other mental health professionals for diagnosis, treatment, and writing of prescriptions will have no place to turn.
At a time when most states require parity in insurance coverage—a concept endorsed by President Bush and the majority in each house of Congress—Oregon’s action turns back the clock.
From APA President-elect Marcia Goin, M.D.:
At the March Board of Trustees meeting, we focused considerable attention on the devastation caused by the budget cuts in Oregon and the likelihood of further threats to the public mental health system throughout the rest of the country.
We called for staff of APA’s American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, working with the Division of Government Relations, to develop fact sheets that describe the agonizing consequences when people with mental illness are unable to receive medications.
The first four fact sheets address anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. They describe medical and social consequences from the point of view of a psychiatrist, but are written in a layperson’s language.
This initiative is part of a comprehensive effort on which we are working to help psychiatrists battle against the pending Medicaid cuts in their states. We will add the fact sheets to the tool kit posted in the Member’s Only Corner of APA’s Web site at www.apa.org under "Save Our Mental Health System."
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