The need for access to quality behavioral healthcare services in the United States has continued to grow rapidly in recent years, driven largely by the nation’s suicide and opioid crises. Fortunately, we have the first-rate mental health hospitals, addiction treatment centers, and clinicians to provide the behavioral healthcare services that so many Americans need desperately. Too often, though, unnecessary barriers deny patients access to that care.

NABH’s Access to Care initiative focuses on two major challenges: unjust managed care contracts, and countless regulations, both of which often prevent behavioral healthcare providers from offering patients a full range of services. NABH launched Access to Care in March when NABH’s Board of Trustees adopted its Access to Care resolution, released The High Cost of Compliance: Assessing the Regulatory Burden on Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities, and shared its Access to Care video.

Please take a moment to review and share these resources—directly on your system’s website and through social media. Together, we can ensure patients have access to the care they need.

Shareable Content

Unnecessary Barriers to Behavioral Healthcare

Lack of Mental Health Parity Limits Access to Care

The Need for Access to Behavioral Healthcare

#MentalHealthMonth is a critical time to focus on the barriers in access to behavioral #healthcare. Learn more about the @NABHbehavioral initiative to address these barriers. #MHM2019

Despite federal law, millions of Americans receive limited behavioral healthcare services. This #MentalHealthMonth, learn about efforts from @NABHbehavioral to improve #accesstocare. #MHM2019

Mental Health Month is a critical time to focus on the barriers that patients face in accessing behavioral healthcare. Learn more about a new initiative from the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare that addresses these barriers.

Share Mark Covall’s LinkedIn article on Mental Health Month

Access to Care Priorities

Access to Care Resolution

On March 18, the NABH Board of Trustees adopted its Access to Care resolution, which states that competent clinical management of access to care must be based on a clear understanding of the purpose behind behavioral healthcare services. Generally accepted standards of professional practice, articulated in robust clinical research and clinical specialty organization consensus statements, recognize that behavioral healthcare treatment is intended to: (1) Prevent, diagnose, and/or treat behavioral health conditions; (2) Promote age-appropriate growth and development; (3) Minimize the progression of disability; (4) Facilitate, maintain, and/or restore functional capacity; and (5) Support long-term recovery.

The High Cost of Compliance

NABH commissioned Manatt Health to conduct this first-of-its-kind study that focuses on three federal regulatory domains attached to participation in the Medicare program: the so-called “B-tag” requirements, a detailed set of standards for patient evaluations, medical records, and staffing in inpatient psychiatric facilities; “ligature risk points,” or those aspects of the physical environment that a patient could use to attempt self-strangulation; and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which obligates a hospital to screen all patients for emergency medical conditions, and, if an emergency condition is identified, to stabilize the patient before the patient may be discharged or transferred.