Framing the Health Reform Discussion
By Meredith Hogan Pond
At a recent update on SAMHSA’s health reform efforts, Acting Administrator Eric B. Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H., convened the meeting and presented the Agency’s nine Core Consensus Principles, developed over the past months with extensive input from the field.
The meeting, held at HHS near the U.S. Capitol in downtown Washington, DC, included comments from Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor, HHS Office of Health Reform; Bill Emmet, Director, Campaign for Mental Health Reform; and Paul Samuels, Director, Legal Action Center.
“We’re excited by what SAMHSA has done in support of health reform,” said Ms. Tanden. “We’re seeing a strong interest in prevention. And we appreciate that SAMHSA is ensuring that the voices of those concerned with substance abuse and mental health issues are heard.”
In developing the principles below, SAMHSA reached out to hundreds of stakeholder and consumer groups and dozens of nationally and internationally recognized experts in the fields of mental health and addiction.
Their recommendations were requested on the most critical issues related to mental and substance use disorders facing the Nation, with an emphasis on identifying opportunities to ensure that imminent health reform efforts include prevention and treatment for these disorders.
Clear themes ran through the responses SAMHSA received from mental health and substance abuse professionals, consumers, and family members from every part of the country. Those themes are reflected in the language of the principles.
For more information, including the videocast of this meeting, visit SAMHSA’s Web site.
SYNOPSIS OF CORE CONSENSUS PRINCIPLES
Articulate a National Health and Wellness Plan for all Americans.
Legislate universal coverage of health insurance with full parity.
Achieve improved health and long-term fiscal sustainability.
Eradicate fragmentation by requiring coordination and integration of care for physical, mental, and substance use conditions.
Provide for a full range of prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery services that embodies a whole-health approach.
Implement national standards for clinical and quality outcomes tied to reimbursement and accountability.
Adopt and fully utilize health information technology.
Invest in the prevention, treatment, and recovery support workforce.
Ensure a safety net for people with the most serious and disabling mental and substance use disorders.