Parity laws appear to improve access to substance use disorder treatment

From Clinical Psychiatry News, 24 October 2013:

The implementation of state-based parity legislation for specialty substance use disorder treatment is associated with significant improvements in access to treatment and treatment rates, new data show.

“These findings suggest that the [Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act] of 2008 and the [Affordable Care Act] of 2010 hold the potential to improve access to [substance use disorder] treatment,” wrote Hefei Wen of Emory University, Atlanta, and her colleagues. “Specialty SUD treatment services, such as outpatient psychosocial therapy and opioid maintenance therapy, have proved to be effective in improving health, reducing crime, increasing employment, and producing a wide range of social benefits.”

The researchers used data from the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, or N-SSATS, a database maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that tracks all of the known specialty SUD treatment facilities in the United States.

N-SSATS defines specialty SUD facilities as “a hospital, a residential SUD facility, an outpatient SUD treatment facility, a mental health facility with an SUD treatment program, or other facility with an SUD treatment program” that provides numerous services (JAMA Psychiatry 2013 Oct. 23 [doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2169]). Read more.

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