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Author: Justin Mckibben
In 2008 the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed. Ever since then health insurers and employers have progressed toward improving coverage for mental health and substance abuse issues. One step in the new direction includes insurance plans no longer charging higher copays or separate deductibles for mental health care, but beyond that there is more to be done.
In March President Obama announced the establishment of a task force focused on further studying and improving the scope of coverage for mental health to ensure that patients with mental illness and addiction would not face discrimination in their health care.
The task force recently submitted a report in which they have made a series of recommendations. Part of this initiative called for $9.3 million in funding to improve enforcement of the federal parity law. Taking a closer look at the report, this is important news for those trying to find help.
The Task Force Report
As part of the report, the task force authors touch on how the lack of effective treatment impacts more than just the costs of treatment and actually creates more issues and more costs down the road. The report states:
“These disorders affect society in ways that go beyond the direct cost of care. Without effective treatment, people with these health conditions may find it difficult to find or maintain a job, may be less able to pursue education and training opportunities, may require more social support services, and are more likely to have their housing stability threatened.”
This is the truth. People who fail to receive quality care for substance abuse and addiction often end up facing multiple hurdles later on. The fact is there are significant problems with the parity law. But some are probably asking, what is parity and what does it mean for substance abuse?
Parity Law Explained
Mental health parity means equal treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders in insurance plans. When an insurance plan has parity, it means you should get the same benefits for mental health or addiction treatment as you do for other chronic conditions.
For example: If your insurance plan provides unlimited doctor visits for diabetes, they must also offer unlimited visits for depression or schizophrenia.
However, parity makes no guarantee for quality of coverage. Many would argue that “equal” coverage does not translate to “good” coverage. So if your health insurance is limited, your mental health coverage is also limited.
The rules of parity law can be a little confusing, and there are some big problems with regulation.
Task Force Recommendations
In order to get a comprehensive idea of how to address problems with parity, the task force reached out to several sources. They received 1,161 public comments from:
- State regulators
Based on the findings, the task force has enacted some new strategies to work toward move effective parity regulation. Some of these include:
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is awarding $9.3 million to states to help enforce parity protections.
- A new government website will help consumers identify the right agency to assist with parity complaints and appeals.
- A new consumer guide to help patients, families and providers understand their rights and look into whether they have experienced a parity violation.
- The Department of Labor will report each year on investigations into violations.
The federal task force also recommended the government increase its aptitude to audit health plans for parity compliance. Also they suggest the same for the Department of Labor when assessing civil monetary penalties for violations.
Opinions on Parity Plans
Former congressman Patrick Kennedy is one of the authors of the 2008 parity law. After examining the task force’s report he said the actions were a step in the right direction, but much of it still places the burden of real action on the patients. Kennedy insisted that the next administration will need to be vigilant in enforcing the parity law.
Both the America’s Health Insurance Plans and the American Psychiatric Association showed support for the report and its recommendations.
Benjamin Miller, director of the health policy center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has an even more direct stance on the matter. Miller says,
“Separate is not equal — mental health is core to health. People do not see themselves as a disease or a select health benefit, but rather a person who has needs. Benefits and payments should follow the person, address their needs, and address the whole of their health.”
Miller’s idea is that if we want the treatment coverage to be absolutely equal, why not just eliminate any borders of distinction?
What does it all mean?
Essentially, the federal task force is fighting to assure that insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse be more available and more strictly enforced. At the end of the day, the government realizes that allowing insurance companies to skimp on the bill when it comes to treating these kinds of disorders is not tolerable, and that people should be made more aware of their rights to coverage.
State and federal laws may also be different in regards to protection of parity. People should be educated on how this affects them and how to make sure their insurance providers are offering them the quality and equality of care they’re entitled to.
People struggling with substance abuse and addiction deserve comprehensive and compassionate treatment, and these actions are an important step towards making treatment more available.
Substance abuse should be getting the attention is deserves. Hopefully the discussion on drug policies will gain priority in the upcoming months. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
First, I have to make it clear that any amount of treatment has the potential to make a difference. Every opportunity to take action in the right direction means something. So making the most out of our time is what is so crucial. Still, I want to look at why a month in rehab has become most insurers’ answer to the addiction issue.
Because different people progress through treatment at different paces there is no perfectly predetermined length of treatment. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. However, research shows that clearly good outcomes are contingent on adequate length of time in treatment. Arguably a treatment program of less than 90 days will show limited effectiveness in comparison to longer programs. Many recommend longer lasting treatment for maintaining positive outcomes. Yet, just around a month’s stay can be pretty typical among people who go to an inpatient facility.
So, who came up with the 28 days later standard of treatment? Why do most people only get this amount of time in treatment?
28 Days Later Routine
Kimberly Johnson is director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA. This federal agency studies addiction treatment services. Johnson says,
“As far as I know, there’s nothing magical about 28 days,”
Anne Fletcher, author of the book Inside Rehab, agrees. Fletcher states,
“It certainly is not scientifically based. I live in Minnesota where the model was developed and a lot of treatment across the country really stemmed from that.”
According to Fletcher, the late Daniel Anderson was one of the primary architects of what has been called the “Minnesota model.” This methodology became the prevailing treatment protocol for addiction specialists a long time ago, but how?
The story starts in the 1950’s at a state hospital in Minnesota. Daniel Anderson attended to alcoholics living in locked wards, leaving only to be put to work on a farm. Anderson came up with the 28-day model to find a path for his patients to get sober and leave the hospital. Back then, it was innovative.
Marvin Ventrell, executive director of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, has studied the model’s history. Ventrell says the month-long method comes from the belief that when-
“someone is suffering from addiction — and in the days that this began, we’re pretty much talking about alcoholism — it made sense to people that it took about four weeks to stabilize somebody.”
Ventrell went on to explain this is the norm because the insurance industry became willing to pay for a 28 day period of time. While many treatment providers believe we must adapt with the times, it would seem insurance companies aren’t so sure.
The early form of this 28 day model was designed for alcoholism. One big issue today is the model is used to treat opioid addiction. It is such a problem because recovering from addiction to powerful narcotic drugs just might be different than recovering from alcohol abuse. Therefore, it may require a different method. Yet, many still want to use the 28 day model as a cookie-cutter standard.
Now, to be fair Ventrell admits there isn’t enough research to prove the exact effective length for inpatient opioid addiction treatment. As we said, different individuals may have a different experience and require a different treatment plan. This is one reason why personalized recovery plans are so important.
Fletcher advocates it is incredibly important for treatment to move away from the default month-long model. 28 days is not going to work for everyone, and it would seem one of the biggest hurdles for those in the addiction treatment industry is convincing the insurance industry that the old “Minnesota model” isn’t always enough. 28 days may be enough for some people to make a beginning, but long-term recovery can be seriously influenced by more time learning about factors such as:
There are so many facets of recovery, it makes sense that the more time you have to learn them the more confident you can be in your ability to manage your recovery.
Make Time for Recovery
Besides the fact that giving people more time in a controlled environment can give them more time to focus on their recovery plan, there is also the element of dual diagnosis. While the 28 days model of treatment may have helped back in the 1950’s, we’ve learned a lot in the past 60+ years about addiction and other issues that co-exist.
Many people struggling with addiction are also having to battle with conditions pertaining to mental health disorders. Knowing what we know now, we see mental health disorders and addiction should be addressed simultaneously. If you ignore one, it can cause a relapse into the other later on. Various forms of mental illness can exist along with an addiction, including:
So for some, establishing a full diagnosis and then effectively engaging in the recovery process can take more time.
In the end, we should be making more time for individuals in need of treatment. Unfortunately, it can be an uphill battle with insurance companies. Some programs do exist that are extended inpatient programs, but these facilities still face resistance from insurers. At this point, it is about making the most out of the time you can get. Holistic drug treatment programs like Palm Partners emphasize the importance of exploring every area of recovery in detail, and design personalized recovery plans to make the time most efficient. Insurance companies may try to limit the opportunity, but the opportunity is still a real chance at real change.
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Author: Shernide Delva
Could an electric patch help treat, and even cure PTSD symptoms? Apparently so, and today we will explore how.
Recent research has found that an electric patch could actually help treat PTSD. The research was presented at several scholarly conferences and published in the journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. The research revealed that trigeminal nerve stimulation holds promise for treating chronic PTSD.
Trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) is a form of neuromodulation treatment that uses external energy sources to make subtle changes in the brain’s electrical wiring. This is done using devices that are either implemented into the body or more commonly accessed through external equipment.
“Most patients with PTSD do get some benefit from existing treatments, but the great majority still have symptoms and suffer for years from those symptoms,” said Leuchter, who is also a staff psychiatrist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. “This could be a breakthrough for patients who have not been helped adequately by existing treatments.”
TNS has already been used for conditions such as epilepsy and depression. Now, TNS treatment for PTSD is showing immense promise. The first part of the study was conducted with civilian volunteers. However, scientists are now recruiting military veterans in the next phase of their research.
Using a patch, TNS harnesses currents from a 9-volt battery to power a patch that is placed on the user’s forehead. While the person sleeps, the patch sends a continual low-level current to the cranial nerves that run through the forehead. These currents are able to send signals to parts of the brain that help regulate mood, behavior and cognition.
Some specific areas of the brain targeted are the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex, as well as the autonomic nervous system. Research shows that abnormal activity in these areas is the cause for PTSD. Therefore, TNS is meant to re-energize and heal these parts of the brain that are behaving irregularly.
“The chance to have an impact on debilitating diseases with this elegant and simple technology is very satisfying,” said Dr. Ian Cook, the study’s lead author.
Cook co-invented TNS at UCLA. Now, he is the chief medical officer at Los Angeles-based Neurosignma Inc., the company that is licensing the technology and funding the research. For now, Neurosigma has been marketing the technology overseas and in the future, hopes to make TNS treatments available in the United States.
PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of the U.S population. PTSD is relatively new terminology and the condition has been called a host of other names, more commonly combat stress syndrome or shellshock. PTSD can affect anyone but is extremely common to veterans. An estimated 17 percent of active military personnel experience symptoms and 30 percent of veterans from Iraq have had symptoms of PTSD.
For this particular study, researchers recruited people with chronic PTSD and severe depression who were already being treated with psychotherapy, medication or both. The study subjects conducted their treatments wearing the patch for eight hours each night. After the study, the subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire.
The results were shocking. The severity of participant’s PTSD symptoms dropped by an average of more than 30 percent! Those with depression saw symptoms drop by more than 50 percent. In addition, one-quarter of the subjects with PTSD went completely into remission. The subjects said they felt able to participate more in their daily activities. The goal is to use these results to enter the next phase of the study. The more evident of efficacy, the better chance for this treatment option to be available to those who need it.
Next, the researchers will study 74 veterans who have served in the military since 9/11. Half will receive real treatment and half will be given a fake TNS patch. At the end, subjects who were using the fake patch will have the option of undergoing treatment with a real TNS patch which is great. Overall, the results from this study will help TNS treatment work toward gaining credibility in the mass markets.
“PTSD is one of the invisible wounds of war,” Cook stated. “The scars are inside but they can be just as debilitating as visible scars. So it’s tremendous to be working on a contribution that could improve the lives of so many brave and courageous people who have made sacrifices for the good of our country.”
TNS treatment has been shown to be effective in treating drug-resistant epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. As the treatment becomes more credible scientifically, the future shows promise for TNS to be a widely used treatment for PTSD. Those with mental health issues need to have better treatment options before they fall into unhealthy “solutions” like a full blown addiction. Addiction ins PTSD and depression sufferers is incredibly common.
If you are struggling, it is so important to get professional treatment. You never know what new innovation in technology and medicine could help successfully treat your condition. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Prescription painkillers have become a huge problem in America, being overprescribed and often abused by both recreational users and legitimate pain management patients. A pain pill detox center in Florida can help someone who has become dependent or addicted to pain medication.
What Are Opiates?
Opiates are a class of narcotic drugs that are used in medicine for their pain killing properties and are known for their high potential for abuse. These opiates are prescribed in the form of pain pills, such as Oxycodone, Methadone, Hydrocodone – basically, any of your prescription painkillers.
People take and abuse pain pills simply because of they make them feel good: they take away any pain as well as produce a sedating effect along with a strong sense of euphoria, called a “rush” or “high.”
What is Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome?
If you abruptly stop taking pain pills and other opiates this will cause what is known as withdrawal syndrome: a set of symptoms that include: sweating, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, excessive yawning, runny nose, muscles aches, and more.
This happens because your brain has developed a dependency on these powerful drugs, which alter both your brain chemistry and brain structure. Once you try to stop, your brain, and therefore your body, reacts to the sudden absence of the drug. The withdrawal from pain pills is very uncomfortable and many people find themselves going back to taking more pain pills because they can’t stand the pain and discomfort. This is why a pain pill detox center in Florida should be considered.
Why go to a Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida?
Plain and simple: a pain pill detox center is the best alternative to going cold turkey and stopping on your own. It is a safer and more comfortable environment than say your friend’s couch. Many people seek aa pain pill detox center in Florida because of its warm weather, sunshine, and beaches. Believe me, when you are detoxing from opiates like painkillers, you will want to be in this kind of environment. Comfort and safety are essential to the healing process.
What Does A Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida Do?
A pain pill detox center is a facility that provides a medical detoxification program to specifically help you get off opiates with diminished withdrawal symptoms. There is a trained medical staff at the pain pill detox center that can administer medication in order to ease your withdrawal symptoms and that will monitor you while you go through the process of detoxification from pain pills.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: What to Expect
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Admission
The first step is checking into a detox program for pain pill dependence. Assuming you have done research as to the pain pill detox center in Florida you will attend, you will follow their instructions for what to bring and when to come for check-in.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Evaluation
During evaluation at the pain pill detox center in Florida of your choosing, you will meet with a staff person who will take your social and medical history. This means that you will tell them about your drug use and health conditions, if any. You will also do a drug screen so that the medical staff can know exactly what drug or drugs you have been taking and the level or amount of those drugs that are in your system at the time of check-in.
This is not done for legal reasons and you will not get in any trouble. It is necessary to do a drug test so that you can be treated properly during your detox process. And you will want the staff to know what and how much you’ve been taking so that they can treat you accordingly and make the process as comfortable as possible.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Doctor Evaluation
You will meet with a medical doctor to have the necessary medications prescribed to you for your pain pill detox. You will also meet with a medical doctor to have any other medications prescribed to you if you have other health issues. As well, you will meet with a psychiatrist to be evaluated and prescribed any psych meds that you may need. Oftentimes, people who abuse drugs have a co-occurring diagnosis, also called dual diagnosis, such as depression, anxiety disorder, or bipolar disorder.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Stabilization
During the stabilization stage at the pain pill detox center in Florida, you will be given certain medications to ease the withdrawal systems that you will begin to experience. Stabilization means to regulate and maintain your condition. So that once you are on your meds, you will be kept at a certain level of medication and slowly tapered off so as to reduce the shock to your system of being without opiates.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Discharge
The program at the pain pill detox center in Florida can last from 4 to as many as 10 days, depending on the amount of opiates you had been taking and how you are feeling from day to day. You will meet with a therapist to evaluate your progress. The therapist may make recommendations as to continuing care such as rehabilitation so that you do not go back to using pain pills or other opiates.
Whether you were legitimately prescribed painkillers for a chronic pain condition or you started taking pain pills for recreational or self-medicating purposes, a pain pill detox center in Florida can help you get your life back in order. The good news is that it is possible to get off of painkillers with minimal discomfort and, if you have a pain condition, there are alternative treatments to relieving your pain symptoms that don’t require the use of narcotics. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
You may be unaware of this but, many people choose stopping addiction in West Palm Beach; it is a prime destination for addicts and alcoholics who are seeking help and recovery from their substance abuse and addiction issues.
Stopping Addiction in West Palm Beach: Why West Palm Beach?
West Palm Beach is an ideal location for serenity, relaxation, healing, and learning to slow down and breathe. It’s no coincidence that people, in general, choose South Florida and West Palm Beach, in particular, as a vacation destination. Coming to West Palm Beach when addressing your addiction is like the saying, “having your cake and eating it, too.” You get to heal and recover while you are basically on vacation. In fact, many people stopping addiction in West Palm Beach like to joke that they live where others merely vacation.
South Florida has become known as the “Recovery Capital” of the world. The area is saturated with treatment centers, rehabilitation programs, halfway houses (also called sober houses), and consequently, it’s home to a large recovery community.
Stopping Addiction in West Palm Beach: Benefits of a Recovery Community
As you can imagine, seeking help for an addiction in an area that’s home to a large recovery community is highly beneficial – and for various reasons. First, it offers plenty of support to the individual seeking recovery and who is in early sobriety. Having peer support is of the utmost importance at this stage of recovery and even beyond; because addiction is a chronic and therefore life-long disease, people with addiction do best of they have strong sober supports throughout their lifetime. This works in several ways. It helps to keep one another accountable and it provides the person with the company of other recovering alcoholics and addicts – people who have many things in common and can relate.
Another benefit of living in a large area of recovery is that there are many more resources available, from treatment programs for those who wish to supplement their recovery with ongoing to treatment as well for those who experience a relapse and need help. Other resources include multiple club houses where support group meetings and fellowship meetings are held. This offers a wide variety of types of meetings as well as meeting times throughout the day and into the night, which allows people to make meetings while attending to their other responsibilities, such as work and family.
Yet another benefit of stopping addiction in West Palm Beach is, because of the expansive recovery community, people who are recovering from addiction can start their lives anew with the help of their fellows. More specifically, there are tons of employers who are either in recovery, themselves, or who are familiar with what recovery is and are therefore more apt hiring newly-sober people because they believe in giving them a second chance. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics have arrest records that can make getting a job difficult; being in this kind of community can really help people put their past to rest.
Stopping Addiction in West Palm Beach: Treatment
Substance abuse and addiction treatment in West Palm Beach is different from that in other parts of the country. In fact, there’s a relatively new format to treatment that was developed in Florida and it is named thusly. The Florida Model differs from conventional treatment in that it incorporates several phases, or levels, of rehabilitation in order to gradually and seamlessly reintegrate the client with society.
After a medical detox, which is the most intensive and structured level of care, there is the residential program, also called inpatient or rehab. Florida Model treatment centers house their clients in typical apartments each with its own kitchen, laundry, common area, bathrooms, and even a patio – just like a private residence. This helps the clients learn basic life skills, such as cooking, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and cleaning. During the day, the clients are brought to a campus where they continue their treatment with group and individual therapy sessions. In a conventional program, residents are housed in one institution-like building.
Stopping addiction in West Palm Beach is quite popular and it shouldn’t be a mystery as to why that is. Ample treatment, beautiful location, and a large recovery community make for the ideal environment to help you heal and overcome the cycle of substance abuse and drug addiction that has been dictating your daily life. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist today.