Gap in mental health care keeps getting wider

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A new report by Milliman, an international consulting firm, reveals an increasing disparity in access to behavioral health care compared with physical health care from 2013 to 2017.

In 2017, Americans were 5.2 times more likely to go out-of-network for mental health or substance use inpatient treatment than they were to go out-of-network for medical or surgical inpatient care.

Coloradans, meanwhile, were 7.9 times more likely to go out-of-network for behavioral health inpatient care in 2017 than for medical or surgical inpatient care.

“The Milliman report confirms that even so-called good health insurance is no guarantee of access to care for mental health and substance use disorder needs,” Vincent Atchity, president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, said in a statement. 

Also, the gap in reimbursement rates continued to grow.

In 2017, primary care providers received 23.8 percent higher Medicare reimbursements for office visits than mental health and substance use providers received. That disparity increased to 37.3 percent in Colorado.

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