SOURCE: CRC Health Group

CRC Health Group

November 07, 2013 09:07 ET

CRC Health Group's Clinical Advisory Board of Top Experts Meets to Discuss Implications of Affordable Care & Mental Health Parity Acts

CUPERTINO, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 7, 2013) - CRC Health Group's Clinical Advisory Board, a group of 11 of the behavioral healthcare industry's top minds, recently convened to discuss the implications of the Affordable Care and Mental Health Parity Acts as part of their larger purpose to help the company continue to differentiate itself from the competition based on its superior care. CRC Health is the nation's largest provider of behavioral health and addiction treatment services, with over 150 facilities nationwide. The company's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Phil Herschman, and Deputy Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Deni Carise, led the two-day meeting in Chicago. 

"We are so fortunate to have this great group of professionals supporting our drive for clinical excellence and guiding discussions on current topics like health care reform," said Dr. Herschman. "We came away with some great ideas and strategies for working toward better health care under the new laws."

At issue with current health care changes is the large number of people with newfound access to treatment, which helps begin to close the "treatment gap" - those 20 million-plus Americans who need addiction treatment but currently do not receive it - but could have serious consequences for treatment programs.

"Both Parity and the ACA provide for mental health insurance coverage - including addiction treatment - in some form for upwards of 60 million Americans," said Dr. Herschman. "However, a major concern to the substance abuse field is that levels of care and scope of service are not addressed."

Indeed, the intent was to end discriminatory practices by ensuring mental health coverage that mirrored services as they existed in general medicine such as inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, and medications. An unintended result is that this may actually create the threat of restricting levels of care, said Dr. Herschman.

"The current rule allows an interpretation that excludes a residential level of care; it is perceived as a step down from inpatient and viewed as not having an analogous service in general medicine. Some major insurance companies have already used this to 'red line' coverage for much-needed residential addiction treatment."

Dr. Herschman added that the ACA defines substance abuse as a chronic disease and does provide opportunities for better integration of treatment services with primary medical care, as well as earlier intervention opportunities, critical benefits of the reform.

The CRC Clinical Advisory Board is made up of Dr. Kathleen T. Brady, MD, PhD, Researcher and Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina; Dr. Thomas J. Brady, MD, MBA, Behavioral Health Consultant and Medical Director of two health centers; Lee T. Feldman, Co-Chair & Chief Scientific Officer of Integrya and Executive Director and Member of the Managing Board of The Institutes for Human Security; Dr. Marc Fishman, MD, Medical Director of Maryland Treatment Centers and Member of the Psychiatry Faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Current President of the Maryland Society of Addiction Medicine; Dr. Michael T. Flaherty, PhD, Founder of IRETA (Institute for Research, Education and Training in the Addictions); Dr. Norman G. Hoffmann, PhD, President of Evince Clinical Assessments and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Western Carolina University; Four-Star General Barry R. McCaffrey, MA, Former Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and President of BR McCaffrey Associates LLC; Dr. Cardwell C. Nuckols, MA, PhD, Author, Former Clinician, Program Director and Hospital Administrator; Dr. David Powell, PhD, CCS, LADC, LMFT, President of the International Center for Health Concerns, Inc. and the Clinical Supervision Institute, Author of Clinical Supervision in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling; Dr. Ian A. Shaffer, MD, MMM, CPE, President of Behavioral Health Management Solutions, LLC; and Gerald Shulman, MA, MAC, FACATA, President of Shulman & Associates, Training & Consulting in Behavioral Health.

The meeting included presentations by Feldman and Dr. Flaherty, as well as two CRC programs: SUWS of the Carolinas, a therapeutic wilderness program for teens, and Four Circles Recovery Center, a wilderness-based addictions, substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders treatment program for young adults. 

"CRC Health is setting the bar for addiction treatment," said Clinical Advisory Board member Dr. Powell*. "They are providing the most comprehensive and sophisticated clinical supervision in the field, for example, and their commitment to continuous improvement is extraordinary and will help improve treatment for every person."

The CRC Clinical Advisory Board was founded in 2011 with the purpose of providing expert guidance as the company deploys its cutting-edge treatment delivery system that encompasses the latest innovations and research, the CRC Care Model. Each Clinical Advisory Board member has experience in behavioral health and/or addiction treatment or research; their expertise and guidance helps drive CRC Health Group's vision of becoming the recognized industry leader for clinical excellence. 

[*NOTE: Less than two weeks after the conclusion of the Clinical Advisory Board meeting, member Dr. David Powell died very suddenly. In the words of colleague and friend, Jerry Schulman, David was considered the "father" of clinical supervision in the addiction field. He was a trainer and consultant, and worked nationally and internationally to advance addiction treatment, sometimes without even the payment of his own expenses. Said Schulman, "Possibly the most notable thing about David was his extensive network of colleagues, many of whom became his friends. We have truly lost both a major contributor to advancing addiction treatment as well as a wonderful human being."]

ABOUT CRC HEALTH GROUP

CRC Health Group is the largest and most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. CRC Health Group offers the largest array of personalized treatment options, allowing individuals, families, and professionals to choose the most appropriate treatment setting for their behavioral, addiction, weight management and therapeutic education needs. CRC is committed to making its services widely and easily available, while maintaining a passion for delivering advanced treatment. Since 1995, CRC programs have helped individuals and families reclaim and enrich their lives. For more information, visit www.crchealth.com.

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