Rhode Island Passes New Parity Bill

According to Journal Medical Writer, Felice Freyer of Providence Journal, Rhode Island legislature is considering new mental health legislation. Rhode Island Human Services Committee is currently working on strengthening mental health parity with Senate Bill 2801. Initially, the bill’s main goal was for insurers to cover medications that help substance users recover, such as Methadone and Suboxone. S-2801 has now been restructured to strengthen state behavioral health parity laws. Though there are state and federal laws governing mental health parity, discrimination against mental health consumers persists. Rhode Island State Senator Joshua Miller (chief sponsor of bill) stated passing this law would make it harder for insurance companies to violate current and pending consumer protections. Here are a few components of the bill:

–        Group health plans shall provide coverage for the treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders under the same terms and financial requirements applied to substantially all coverage for medical conditions in each treatment classification

–        Coverage shall not impose non-quantitative treatment limitations for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders more stringently for mental health and substance-use disorders in comparison to medical/surgical care

–        Medication assisted therapy is included within the classifications to be used for coverage requirements

–        Comprehensive discharge planning – Each hospital in Rhode Island must submit proof of evidence of participation in discharge planning as well as a plan for the provision of comprehensive discharge planning information sharing. Patients must schedule a follow-up appointment with a professional within seven days. If the patient does not make an effort to schedule a follow-up appointment, the hospital will get back in touch with the consumer within 30 days.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives are also reviewing a similar bill. If the bill is passed in both the Senate and the House, the law will take effect on October 1st. The Human Services Committee also approved bill S-2523 that would require medical professionals to register with the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program to monitor a patient’s obtainment of prescription drugs and possible abuse.

On June 10th, the Rhode Island House unanimously passed the bill voting 72-0. The bill will reinforce the requirement of insurers equally covering mental health and substance use in conjunction with physical health. We hope to see similar legislation in Maryland.

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.