Mental Health
Psychiatrist Warns of Major Problems for Mental Health System Under ObamaCare
Nov 12, 2013 - 1:59:19 PM

( - Under Obamacare, which is set to begin in less than 60 days, one sector of the medical community in particular is going to be hit extra hard.  On January 1, tens of millions of people will be eligible for mental health and substance abuse services, which are no longer an option and must be included in a health insurance policy.

Dr. Prakash Masand, a psychiatrist who is president of Global Medical Education, and a former consulting professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, says that although more patients will be eligible for treatment which sounds like a good thing, the bad news is the quality of care is going to decline significantly.

His thoughts:

-          Not enough physicians - There's already a severe shortage of mental health professionals.  Obamacare isn't adding more physicians, but instead is bringing millions more patients to the already shortage of qualified mental health specialists.  So while it's a nice thought that everyone has access to care, the reality is that the system won't be able to accommodate the influx of eligible new patients.

-          Physicians will become employees rather than employers - In New York, for example, the state says if you practice under the umbrella of an academic medical facility, you must accept Medicaid patients.  Many physicians don't accept Medicaid anymore because reimbursements continue to shrink.  More physicians in private practice will become employees and work the bare minimum of a nine to five day, collect their paycheck and go home.

-          Increase training - Family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other extended care providers handle more than 90% of psychiatric care in the U.S., yet only receive six to 12 weeks of training in psychiatry over their entire medical school and residency careers.  We must increase training and accessibility to MOOCs (Massive open online courses) which is an excellent way to educate more professionals and is also becoming more widely accepted as a means of continuing medical education.

-          Early diagnosis/intervention is key - We must place an emphasis on the detection and treatment of mental health in the early stages. The sooner the patient receives a proper diagnosis, and the faster treatment is initiated, the better the outcomes.  Too many patients are bounced around the system until they receive a proper diagnosis.


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