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Dr Trishan Panch Highlights the Importance of Mental Health Parity

Creating a statement that mental health and physical health have parity is important for achieving outcomes in patients with chronic illnesses, said Trishan Panch, MBBS, MPH, chief medical officer at Wellframe.


Creating a statement that mental health and physical health have parity is important for achieving outcomes in patients with chronic illnesses, said Trishan Panch, MBBS, MPH, chief medical officer at Wellframe.

Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

How does the mental health parity law make a difference in promoting better coordination of primary and behavioral healthcare?

Firstly, the way it helps more effectively is by creating a statement that mental health and physical health have parity, and that mental health should be considered. I think providers have been considering mental health problems for a while, but not being reimbursed or the patient not having adequate benefits to provide adequate mental healthcare has been a big problem. This is a mechanism to address that because it sets something in place regarding an ideological commitment to the parity of mental health and physical health.

But secondly, you're also creating a mechanism for patients to get access to the mental healthcare they need. And in the context of physical health conditions like diabetes or heart disease, those patients—and this is well known—with mental health problems are the most complicated to manage and incur a lot of the complications and the costs associated with those complications.

So good mental health makes sense even if the focus is just on achieving the outcomes of improved HbA1c or improved blood pressure or things associated with the control of diabetes because part of the mechanism to achieving that is addressing the patient's mental health problems. So I think it really helps to put that on the agenda.

 
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