Forum Session

Transforming Behavioral Health Practice, Payment, and Policy: Too Fast, Too Slow, or Just Right?
September 20, 2013


Jessamy Taylor, MPP


Medicaid is the largest payer for behavioral health services in the United States, and the federal government will have an even larger stake when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) is implemented and millions more enroll in the program. The ACA and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 significantly change the way that people with mental health and substance use disorders receive health insurance coverage and care, as well as many of the parameters of that coverage. However, insurance coverage does not ensure access to care, and the mental health and substance use services delivery systems have long been criticized as dysfunctional, fragmented, and capacity constrained. This Forum session explored the opportunities and challenges that those laws offer for individuals, providers, insurers, and payers and the prospects that efforts like integrating physical and behavioral health services may have for improving lives and reducing health care costs.


Michael Hogan, PhD (bio)
Hogan Health Solutions, LLC

Marc Avery, MD (bio)
Clinical Associate Professor
Associate Director for Clinical Services
, AIMS Center
Division of Integrated Care and Public Health
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
University of Washington

Doug Porter (bio)
Health Management Associates

Related Materials

Richard G. Frank and Sherry Glied, Better But Not Well: Mental Health Policy in the United States Since 1950 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America, Final Report, July 22, 2003.

Rachel L. Garfield, "Mental Health Financing in the United States: A Primer," The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, April 2011.

Cynthia Shirk, "Medicaid and Mental Health Services," National Health Policy Forum, Background Paper No. 66, October 23, 2008.

Jürgen Unützer et al., "The Collaborative Care Model: An Approach for Integrating Physical and Mental Health Care in Medicaid Health Homes," Center for Health Care Strategies and Mathematica Policy Research, May 2013.

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