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Monday, July 03, 2017

Republican cruel "unhealthy plan" will do more harm

While Internet cruising various so called "red state" newspapers, I don't delve very far into recent editorials and letters to the editors to find stress about funding our most vulnerable citizens. Medicaid cuts will make these editorials more prevalent and even easier to find. The question, of course, is about who will do something to protect the most vulnerable among us?  Republican cuts to Medicaid will do more harm to treatment programs and damage the people who are in need of being served.
Children and adolescent mental health services are vital to protect our nation's future

In Nebraska- the Omaha World Herald

Editorial: Closing of facilities putting a strain on Nebraska's behavioral health providers

World-Herald editorial Jun 30, 2017 

Churn in the business world is commonplace. Some companies last; others fail to make it and are forced to close shop.

Nebraska is lately seeing another type of churn, a troubling one: the closing of some entities that provide mental health and substance abuse services, and stressed financial conditions for others.

ABH Addiction & Behavioral Health Services, an Omaha-based small business that has provided services to adolescents and families, recently closed. ABH, which operated in Omaha for 17 years, was serving more than 50 youths at the time of its closing and had a waiting list for its services.

Journeys, a 16-bed residential therapeutic group home for teenagers in Omaha, closed in January.

Inadequate reimbursement for services, compelled ABH to close, said Angie Bellinghausen, its president and clinical director, to The World-Herald.

It’s true that in some cases, other providers can pick up the burden. That’s what happened when three organizations commendably took over duties at Campus for Hope, an addiction treatment center in Omaha’s north downtown, when Catholic Charities stepped away from providing such services.

But many mental health and substance abuse treatment providers in Nebraska are under major financial stress due to problems with claims processing and authorization of care under Medicaid. Nebraska lawmakers heard testimony on the problem Tuesday.

The reimbursement problem is also affecting other Nebraska health care providers, such as doctors, nursing homes and home health providers.

Nebraska shifted on Jan. 1 to a new Medicaid processing system called Heritage Health. Under it, providers of health care or behavior health services can choose among three managed care companies administering the bulk of the state’s Medicaid program.

The new approach facilitates treating patients’ range of conditions, mental as well as physical. But so far the claims processing has in many cases failed to reimburse providers accurately and in a timely fashion.

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