Are You Ready for Mental Health Parity?

by Terry Cahill

The deadline is July 1, 2010 but many companies are still struggling to understand compliance.

As a provider of employee assistance program (EAP) and managed behavioral health (MBH) services, Perspectives Ltd is in a unique position to help employees before they tap into a businesses’ mental health benefit. 

That can really cut costs for an employer. 

We’re doing this by helping organizations understand how to position EAP and MBH in response to mental health parity law. 

The implementation of parity makes EAP prevention and assessment roles even more important. EAP will continue to play a role that compliments MBH services, even as EAPs role as a gatekeeper to mental health benefits is being reviewed.

If you need help understanding how mental health parity may impact your organization, feel free to contact me

In addition, here are a few steps you can take to evaluate parity needs for your business:

  1. Ask the question: “When it comes to behavioral health, what are the goals of our organization?”
  2. Evaluate the financial and treatment limitations of your existing medical benefits. How do they compare to your medical /surgical benefit?
  3. Consult your benefits advisor and your employee assistance program (EAP) for help positioning EAP and MBH in response to mental health parity law.
  4. Develop objective criteria for deciding what treatments and treatment settings will be covered.
  5. Document, or have your managed behavioral healthcare partner document, how to best align medical management processes with parity regulations.
  6. Have a strong rationale for the choices you make. Regulatory bodies will consider “good faith” interpretations of the law.

Terry Cahill is Vice President of Development and Principal of Perspectives Ltd.  He has 30 years experience in the behavioral healthcare market and has been in the employee assistance programs (EAP) and work/life field for more than 20 years.

Additionally, he networks with organizations in Chicago and nationwide, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the National Behavioral Consortium (NBC), to evaluate how parity is impacting businesses.

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