Commonwealth Medicine Health Law & Policy expert explains Medicaid policy options to improve access to substance use disorder treatment

Friday, February 28, 2020
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Carol Gyurina, MMHS
University of Massachusetts Medical School

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) passed in 2008 requires health plans to apply the same coverage limits to both behavioral health and medical benefits. ). Carol Gyurina, senior associate for Health Law & Policy at Commonwealth Medicine, provided commentary—Beyond Parity: Medicaid Policy and Improving Access to Effective Substance Use Disorder Treatment— in the journal Medical Care explaining why the federal parity law was a critical first step but is not sufficient to guarantee access to effective substance abuse services for Medicaid enrollees.  Her comments were a reaction to new research published in the same issue of Medical Care by Geissler and Evans, “Changes in Medicaid acceptance by substance abuse treatment facilities after implementation of federal parity,”  that shows MHPAEA has had modest success in removing barriers to care for people with substance abuse disorder (SUD). Improved access requires states to navigate complex Medicaid regulations and restrictions to cover the full range of substance use treatment. Medical Care is the official journal of the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association.

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