Federal Funding May Help Diagnosis and Treatment of OCDPosted by Phil Cardenas on Jan 20, 2014
On December 10, 2013, the White House announced that $100 million will be made available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities. The funds will be allocated by two cabinet-level departments, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture, as part of separate programs designed to help reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illnesses as well as improving diagnosis and treatment.
The $50 million in HHS funds comes through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help Community Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services. The centers can use the funds to hire new mental health professionals and add mental health and substance abuse disorder services.
The other half of the funding is part of the Department of Agriculture’s goal of bringing better mental health care to rural areas that often face challenges quite different from urban areas. As part of the Department’s Community Facilities direct loan program, the money can be used to improve or build service facilities or add tools such as telemedicine to expand access to mental health services at rural schools, community centers and medical facilities.
As the Affordable Care Act unfolds, most health plans will be required to cover certain recommended preventive services such as depression screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for children. Effective in 2014, insurers will be prevented from denying treatment for preexisting conditions including mental illnesses. This will certainly put more pressure on existing staff and facilities as workloads increase. The additional funding is a step toward addressing the expanded needs as mental health treatment becomes a larger part of the health and wellness delivery system. Other administration actions, including final implementation of the 2008 Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, that mandates mental health coverage at levels on par with medical and surgical benefits, will add to the level of mental health treatment.
While OCD is not specifically addressed in these funding measures, the increased availability to test, diagnose and treat mental health conditions would seem to indicate that early detection and better screening of OCD and similar disorders will improve. It is important that OCD be properly diagnosed and treated. Only counselors and mental health professionals who are trained to recognize the signs of OCD and distinguish between it and other disorders can be effective in helping sufferers and their loved ones manage it.
Beyond OCD is an organization devoted to better understanding of OCD, its diagnosis, and its treatment. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from OCD, our web site has lots of information on the disorder, how to recognize it, and resources for additional information and treatment. Identifying the symptoms is the first step. Our website has an OCD Self-Screening Test that can help give you insights into your thoughts and behaviors, but only a qualified mental health professional can accurately test for and diagnose OCD.
Beyond OCD is committed to offering OCD sufferers and their loved ones the latest information on the disorder as well as carefully chosen sources for treatment. To learn more about OCD and its treatment, visit our web site at BeyondOCD.org. It’s there to help you get the information you need to go beyond OCD.