Betty Ford Center and Caron Treatment Centers Unite with U.S. Reps Kennedy and Ramstad to Fight for Stalled Bill Equalizing Addiction Treatment Coverage

Sep 20, 2006, 01:00 ET from Caron Treatment Centers

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Addiction is one of the country's
 leading healthcare problems, as well as a major cause of death, family
 violence, emergency room visits and lost workforce productivity, yet its
 treatment has little or no recognition among health insurers.
     A bill stalled in Congress, The Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable
 Treatment Act, H.R. 1402, would require insurance companies to treat
 addiction and other mental health disorders on an equal basis with other
 chronic diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension. The bill was introduced
 by U.S. Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN).
     "The House leadership should be ashamed that Congress will once again
 end a legislative session without passing legislation to end the
 discrimination against those with mental health and substance abuse
 disorders," Representative Kennedy said.
     Representative Ramstad added: "It's long overdue for Congress to end the
 discrimination against people with mental illness and chemical dependency.
 With millions of Americans suffering the ravages of these treatable diseases
 and more than half of Congress supporting treatment parity, we shouldn't have
 to wait any longer to give this critical parity legislation the up or down
 vote it deserves."
     What:            The Betty Ford Center and Caron Treatment Centers will
                      host a press conference with the Representatives to call
                      for action on the bill and raise awareness of the issue.
                      A website, Equal Coverage for Addiction Treatment
                      (ECAT),, is being launched to
                      raise awareness for this and other major issues facing
                      those seeking recovery.
     When:            Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 10:00 a.m.
     Where:           The Cannon Terrace,
                      Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
                      The terrace is adjacent to the Cannon House Office
                      Building's entrance at Independence and New Jersey
                      Avenues.  121 Cannon is reserved in the event it rains.
     Who's Involved:  - U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI
                      - U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, R-MN
                      - Douglas Tieman, Caron Treatment Centers CEO
                      - Leonard Bade, Vice President of Alumni Services of
                        The Betty Ford Center
                      - Steven Treistman, Research Society on Alcoholism
                      - Christopher Kennedy Lawford, author, actor and
                        addiction treatment advocate
                      - John Hiatt, singer and songwriter
                      - Carrie S., recovering addict who was denied adequate
                        coverage from her insurance company

SOURCE Caron Treatment Centers