Study: Outpatient mental-health services tough to find

A study in the journal Health Affairs recently reported that about two-thirds of primary care physicians could not get outpatient mental-health services for their patients in 2004-05. Roughly 6,600 doctors who spent at least 20 hours per week in patient care were interviewed over the phone for the study. 

Fifty-nine percent of the surveyed doctors blamed a lack of or non-sufficient insurance coverage as one of the main reasons for the denial of services. Health plan barriers also proved to be a roadblock, with 51 percent of those surveyed putting the onus on them. 

"The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 addressed this lack of access by requiring group plans with mental health benefits to provide the same level of coverage as provided for physical health problems," the study said. 

The study was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and received a 52 percent response rate. 

For more:
- here's the Modern Healthcare article