WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A key finding in a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on government oversight of compliance with parity underscores the need for federal lawmakers to proactively investigate the work of employer-sponsored group plans and ensure they are complying with the landmark 2008 parity law.
Late last week, GAO released a 67-page report that examined and evaluated the practices, policies, and guidance from the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department and the U.S. Labor Department (DOL), the two federal offices that oversee compliance with the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
In its review, GAO found that both HHS and DOL "conduct targeted reviews of certain employer-sponsored group plans when they receive information—such as consumer complaints—about possible noncompliance with MH/SU parity requirements or other federal healthcare requirements."
On behalf of its members, NABH is both disappointed and frustrated that HHS and DOL act only when they receive information, thereby taking a reactionary approach to a law that affects the health of millions of Americans.
"For years, NABH has heard from our members—who receive complaints from patients and withstand parity violations every day—that the current compliance process is woefully inadequate to determine whether health plans are following the law," said Shawn Coughlin, executive vice president for government relations and public policy at NABH. "And just last month, research firm Milliman, Inc. released a report that found widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement when comparing mental health and addiction with physical health. This is unacceptable."
Following the reports from the GAO and Milliman, NABH is calling on Congress to convene oversight hearings at the start of the New Year to examine the work of the nation's insurers related to parity implementation.
The National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH) advocates for behavioral healthcare and represents provider systems that treat children, adolescents, adults, and older adults with mental health and substance use disorders in more than 1,800 inpatient behavioral healthcare hospitals and units, residential treatment facilities, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, medication assisted treatment centers, specialty behavioral healthcare programs, and recovery support services. The association was founded in 1933.
SOURCE National Association for Behavioral Healthcare