Hope For Better Mental Health Treatments
No one should ever have to wait more than a few days for treatment. Finding treatment quickly literally can be the difference between life and death for addicts.
Despite Obamacare, an outdated federal law continues to limit the number of beds available for drug and alcohol treatment via Medicaid with a facility requirement of a limit of no more than 16 beds total. This effectively removes hospitals and many clinics from providing services to low-income adults. The measure was originally designed to prevent funding of private mental institutions to avoid abuse of services.
More than 23 million Americans needed treatment for an alcohol or drug problem in 2012 but only 11% received it, according to estimates from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
All health insurance is now required to treat addiction and mental health in the same manor that other medical conditions are treated. The reality is that this is just not happening and the problem needs to be addressed to avoid further tragedies. Needless suffering and death from overdose is a public issue that requires a solution. Drug rehabilitation centers are turning away new Medicaid beneficiaries who are entitled to treatment under Obamacare. This should not be happening to people who need and are seeking help now.
“There’s not enough beds, there’s not enough providers,” confirmed Bruno Silie, a health educator who helps place addicts in treatment facilities at a drop-in center run by the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J. “There’s options, but the waiting period is ridiculous,” he added. “I’ve had clients wait for 60-plus days, and by that time they’ve given up.”
At this time, there are no plans to change the law and the government is claiming to be working on alternative programs to fund treatment. This does not help those who need treatment now. Until insurance companies and mental health service providers are able to meet the need of long-term treatment, it is encouraged that individuals continue to seek help where and when they can. Don’t give up hope.