Tag Archives: mental health care

Community health workers are key to revamping U.S. mental health care system, AHCJ keynoter and Rand researchers say

About Katti Gray

Katti Gray (@kattigray) is AHCJ's core topic leader for behavioral and mental health. A former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow, Gray is providing resources to help AHCJ members expand their coverage of mental health amid ongoing efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness and to place mental health care on par with all health care.

Community health workers in Luxor, Egypt, practice their counseling skills through role play at a local clinic. (Photo courtesy of USAID Egypt via Flickr)

Several speakers at AHCJ’s Mental Health Summit lauded the Rand Corp.’s recently released “Transforming Mental Health Care in the United States,” a research brief whose 15 recommendations, among other things, call for:

  • More formalized mental health education for schoolkids.
  • More programs that keep homeless persons with mental illness in supportive housing.
  • Increased efforts to stem incarceration of the mentally ill.
  • Nationwide standards for prescribing and paying for mental and behavioral health services.
  • Financial and other incentives that expand the number of medical school-trained. psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses who can prescribe medication, and so forth, while also raising the count of on-the-ground community-health workers who are critical to filling gaps in mental health care access.

The report comes as the nation’s mental health care system continues to struggle to meet many goals of the Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, passed in 2008 to expand the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996. 

Amid current bipartisan efforts aimed at shoring up that system, how to build and adequately compensate a lay workforce of community health workers and peer, support specialists, is a question that increasingly comes up, said public health researcher Ryan McBain, Ph.D., M.P.H.  

Continue reading

As name implies, short-term health plans may not be a good deal for some consumers

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform. He welcomes questions and suggestions and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

For an article on short-term health plans, journalist Nancy Metcalf found an ideal source: Stewart Lamotte, a 64-year-old retired restaurateur from Lawrenceville, Ga.

In a story that Consumer Reports published in December 2017, “Is Short-Term Health Insurance a Good Deal?”, Metcalf explained that when LaMotte shopped for health insurance, he didn’t qualify for a tax credit under the Affordable Care Act. Also, he balked at the $1,000 monthly premium and a deductible of $6,500 that was required for an ACA-compliant health insurance policy. Continue reading