I knew there was something I liked about First Lady Rosalyn Carter. Ms. Carter has been working on improving mental health care in America for the past forty years and has just written a book called, Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis. In an article this week in Time Magazine, Ms. Carter talks about the book and her opinions on the subject of mental health in general.
A study that came out on May 6, 2010 says that the numbers of physicians “open” to visiting pharmaceutical reps dropped from 71% to 58%. This has to be due, at least in part, to the relentless negative publicity that big pharma gets for its practice of sending out armies of sales reps to inform doctors about certain medications and to encourage them to prescribe them. I have seen this trend in effect for the mental health field, among psychiatrists, mental health nurse practitioners and mental health PAs.
Let’s not allow the national debate over health care reform distract us entirely from the very impressive and clear victory that mental health advocates won recently in North Carolina and elsewhere. It’s called Mental Health Parity. One may like or dislike the ObamaCare plan, but it would take a truly self-interested employers trade association to object to the idea behind mental health parity: mental health illnesses are real ailments and it’s not proper to discriminate against those who suffer from them.
Private insurance companies have just about completed their stranglehold on mental health clinicians in America, with uniformly negative results for people suffering from mental health issues.