Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Medicare Punishes Seniors with Mental Illness

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Medicare Punishes Seniors with Mental Illness

Article excerpt

Dear Mr. Edwards,

While I applaud your interest in the senior population (February 2006, p. 21), I note that your article, and the sidebar by Jerry Reed, do not address the problem of insufficient Medicare coverage of mental illness (a 50% copay for outpatient services). In fact, most Social Security recipients cannot afford mental health services from a licensed mental health professional.

In rural Minnesota communities, Medicare accounts for about 50% of most primary care clinics' patients' payment source, whereas it accounts for less than 5% in the local community mental health center. And our pharmacy data indicate that primary care physicians (PCPs) prescribe an overwhelming majority of psychotropic medications for persons age 65 and older. The medications include antidepressants, "traditional" antipsychotics, and atypical antipsychotics.

To avoid the 50% copay, PCPs are (appropriately and economically for the patient) using symptom diagnoses, or adding it as a third, fourth, or fifth diagnosis. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.