It has been estimated that 1 in 5 adults suffers from diagnosable mental health problems (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics in Quality (CBHSQ), 2015). These mental health problems can be disabling, severely affecting one’s ability to function, and causing increased health concerns resulting in early mortality (Mechanic, 2012; Walker, 2014). Even so, mental health treatment has been shown to be an underserved area of healthcare (Kesslar, Chui, Demler, Merkangas, & Walters, 2005). Nearly a third of those who are insured currently lack coverage for services related to substance use disorders and mental health treatment, including the inpatient crisis intervention and stabilization. The lack of health insurance coverage creates a financial barrier to mental health care, limiting a person’s ability to seek treatment (Dunning, 2013). The ACA (Affordable Care Act) has opened the healthcare door to a staggering number of people, both the previously insured with little to no mental health coverage and the uninsured, suffering from mental health disorders. Thus, potentially allowing greater access to mental health services.
The increasing costs of healthcare can been seen in the effects that it has on the under insured and uninsured. It has been indicated that when people are not able to pay for health insurance copayments they increasingly miss preventive and wellness visits and keep away from physicians visits until the visits are no longer avoidable and resulting in the need for a higher accutiy of care (Walker, 2014). When preventive health screens for medical or mental health substance services and not done people tend to encounter more expensive and invasive therapies and methods including emergency departme...
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...health concerns The ACA, building on the mental health parity act, placed additional regulations on health insurance providers to ensure more comprehensive coverage of mental health services to beneficiaries. Although the ACA has created a framework to increase access to mental health care there are still potential barriers to care including stigma and access to care providers. Nurses can be pivotal in the next steps in building on the framework the ACA has created. Delaney, 2011, advocates that nurses can be a driving force, working within this framework created by the ACA to establish care centers, and have a say in the reevaluating payment structures for increased access to care. Nurse research can help identify evidenced based practices by reviewing current and innovative practices and preventive services for treatment effectiveness and cost effectiveness.
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