Mental Health America and other members of the Parity Implementation Coalition are hailing the implementation of interim final mental health and addiction parity regulations by the Obama administration.
Regulations for the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) went into effect for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010, meaning expanded access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment for millions of Americans. In the absence of final regulations, plans have been required to make a good faith compliance effort since the law went into effect on October 3, 2009.
We are very pleased to report that a federal judge has ruled against lawsuit filed by a coalition of behavioral health managed care organizations seeking to block implementation of regulations to enforce the provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. While the ruling does not guarantee an end to all further litigation on this matter, it is an important victory and one that signals that the regulations will take effect as scheduled for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010.
In her decision, the judge stated that the three Departments involved in rulemaking were allowed to issue interim final rules in order to expedite the rulemaking process given the short timeframe allowed by the law. She also stated that it was her expectation that the Departments should move swiftly to finalize the rules by responding to 4,000 plus comments that have been submitted.
URAC, an independent nonprofit leader in promoting health care quality has released a podcast on Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in the workplace featuring Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America.
To listen to the podcast, visit www.urac.org/podcast/. The podcast will also be available on the iTunes store at http://www.apple.com/itunes/.
More information on the law is available on the Parity Page of our website.
Mental Health America today submitted comments in support of the strong consumer protections included by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury in the interim final rules they released for the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
“After spending many years advocating in support of federal mental health and addiction treatment parity legislation, we are eager to work with the agencies to ensure that the implementing regulations reflect Congress’ intent to prohibit discriminatory limits on mental health and substance use conditions by employer-sponsored and other group health plans,” said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America.