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Health Care Reform

A Primer for Psychiatrists

American Psychiatric Association

  • ISBN 978-0-89042-458-2
  • Item #2458

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed in March 2010, includes provisions to expand the scope of mental health care available to most Americans. What do psychiatrists need to know about the provisions of the health reform law to practice most effectively and best serve their patients?

Health Care Reform: A Primer for Psychiatrists is a compilation of resources designed to educate psychiatrists and other mental health professionals about key elements of the reform law. At its core are three articles from a special section on health reform that appeared in the November 2010 issue of Psychiatric Services. Each article addresses a key question for the organization and financing of mental health and substance abuse care under health care reform:

  • How should states set up their health exchanges to ensure that the needs of people with mental illness are addressed?
  • Will coverage of mental health services be adequate under the law's provisions?
  • Can integration of mental and physical health care—a particular focus of health reform—improve the quality and efficiency of care for people with mental illness?

This book also provides a list of additional readings, with links to the source documents. These include backgrounder articles published in Psychiatric News, analyses and commentaries from the American Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Services, and white papers and other useful documents compiled by staff of the APA Department of Government Relations.


  • Foreword
  • Special Section on Health Reform and Mental Illness: Articles From Psychiatric Services, November 2010
  • Chapter 1. Introduction to the Special Section
  • Chapter 2. Regulating a Health Insurance Exchange: Implications for Individuals With Mental Illness
  • Chapter 3. Health Reform and the Scope of Benefits for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services
  • Chapter 4. Health Care Reform and Care at the Behavioral Health–Primary Care Interface
  • Chapter 5. Commentary on the Special Section: Health Care Reform and Mental Health Care Delivery
  • Additional Reading: American Psychiatric Association Resources
  • Other Resources

This publication anticipates health care reform issues for psychiatrists and is an informative current overview of key aspects of the reform process. It highlights the opportunities, complexities, and uncertainties in the implementation of the PPACA and the challenges for parity.—James H. Shore, M.D., Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 3/1/2013

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