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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
November/December 2008, Volume 16, Number 6 

From Dr. Broderick: Parity Law: Making a Difference

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 is a long name for a simple concept: fairness.

When a health plan offers benefits for mental health and substance use services, the law says that the coverage has to be equal to what is offered for the medical and surgical benefits.

photo of Dr. Eric B. Broderick

Dr. Eric B. Broderick, Acting SAMHSA Administrator

This is good news for people who use these services.

What exactly will the new law do? The cover story in this issue of SAMHSA News focuses on how the parity law can make a difference.

Large numbers of people who need services for mental and substance use disorders do not receive them. While there are a number of reasons for this, one is that people usually have to pay more out-of-pocket costs for behavioral health services, whether they are inpatient or outpatient.

When there are high co-pays patients tend to access services less frequently.

Access to treatment services is a critical first step in the recovery process for our increasingly diverse population. The new parity law will encourage more people to participate in treatment and start their own road to recovery.

The Department of Health & Human Services will be working with the Departments of Labor and the Treasury to develop regulations for the implementation of the law. Whether the regulations are developed in time or not, the law takes effect on health plans negotiated after October 3, 2009.

Over the years, many people worked hard to get this legislation passed. SAMHSA encourages all of our constituents to participate in the public comment process. Your voice is critical to advancing better health for all.

SAMHSA News will continue to provide relevant information as this process unfolds.

  Women, Addiction, & Recovery  
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Conference Coverage & Related Stories

  Returning Veterans  
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Women in the Military: Overcoming Challenges

From mental health issues to sexual harassment—what’s being done to help.

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Veterans & Major Depressive Episode: New Data

Last year, more than 300,000 veterans experienced MDEs.

  Suicide Prevention  
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New Media Increase Options

Virtual suicide prevention efforts are helping.

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Lifeline Answers One Millionth Call

Milestone for SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  Training Manuals  
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This Treatment Improvement Protocol training manual offers basics on successful detox.

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Medication-Assisted Treatment

This Treatment Improvement Protocol training manual discusses treatment for opioid addiction.

  Data on Youth  
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Inhalant Use & Depression

Some adolescents are three times as likely to start using inhalants—find out why.

Mental Health Settings: New Data

Do young people get mental health services at school more often than at specialty treatment centers?

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Out-of-Home Treatment

Effective treatment options for young people.

  Also in This Issue  
logo for SAMHSA's Science and Service Awards

2008 Science & Service Award Winners

For best practices, 29 organizations honored.

Grant Updates

Awards announced.

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Advisory Councils

Five new members for SAMHSA’s Advisory Councils.

Treatment Line Gets National Attention

Oprah promotes SAMHSA’s substance abuse treatment line as a resource.

The Voice Awards logo

Voice Award Nominations

You have until March 2009 to cast your vote.

Primary Care Settings

Mental health may improve with treatment location.

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Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – 1 Choke Cherry Road - Rockville, MD 20857
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