DAILY / MAY 18, 2013, VOL. 3, NO. 20   Send Feedback l View Online
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2013 APA's Annual Meeting Special Edition
Report Parity Violations, Urges Expert on Cost-Effectiveness of Psychotherapy

Susan Lazar“We are in the midst of a national mental health care crisis with respect to the provision of mental health benefits, including psychotherapy, just as national health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, is being implemented,” said Susan Lazar, M.D., today at APA’s 2013 annual meeting in the session “Psychotherapy: Expanse, Education, and Efficacy.”

Lazar, a psychiatrist in private practice and member and former chair of the Committee on Psychotherapy of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, spoke about cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy. She said that even in the wake of enactment of the strongest laws ever in this country mandating appropriate coverage and nondiscrimination against the coverage of care for psychiatric patients, psychotherapy and other mental health benefits are under attack from insurance companies.

“For the past three years, many insurance companies, including Cigna, United Healthcare, and Kaiser Permanente, began severe restrictions on mental health benefits, including psychotherapy” she said. “Psychotherapy is an effective and often highly cost-effective medical intervention for many serious psychiatric conditions….The patients who are most in need of more prolonged and intensive psychotherapy are those with personality disorders and those with chronic complex psychiatric conditions often including severe anxiety and depression. These patients, if inadequately treated, are extremely costly to society in increased medical and emergency services, disability, and, for certain groups, destructive and antisocial behavior. Certain children and adolescents with learning disabilities and those with severe psychiatric disorders also require more than brief treatment.”

She urged clinicians to report violations of parity with respect to the provision of psychotherapy to; look for: "You are requesting assistance with," then check the box: "Plan is not complying with legal requirements (such as ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act.)”

She also requested clinicians to copy Frank Yeomans, M.D., chair of the Committee on Psychotherapy of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, at




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