226481 Recovery and the Health Care/Insurance Systems: Improving Treatment and Improving Access

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 12:40 PM - 12:50 PM

Ivette Torres, MEd, MSc , Consumer Affairs, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Rockville, MD
Elizabeth Harris, PhD , Evaluation, Management & Training Associates, Inc., Encino, CA
When the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act of 2008 becomes effective in 2010, additional options will become available to those seeking addiction and mental health services. The Act will require group health plans to offer coverage for addiction and mental illness and provide benefits on par with those for all other medical and surgical conditions. This program will examine what impact the Act will have on health care and insurance systems and what it means for individuals and families battling addiction. The show will also explore other issues related to health care's role in recovery, such as proper screening and intervention, prescription drug abuse prevention, and treating co-occurring disorders.

Key Questions addressed by panelists include: How prevalent is the need for treatment services in the United States and how do most people currently pay for treatment? How and why do the health care and insurance systems play a critical role in making treatment services available to those who need them? What effect will/may the Wellstone Act have upon these health care plans? Why is it important that the health care system take a more proactive role in providing screenings and brief interventions? Why is it important to educate the medical community about substance use? What can health care and insurance providers do to improve access to and availability of treatment? What still needs to be done in the health care and insurance systems with regards to substance abuse treatment?

Learning Areas:
Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain one way in which the Wellstone act will benefit individuals with mental illness and addiction Differentiate between the health care system status quo and post-Wellstone parity for individuals with co-occuring disorders

Keywords: Drug Abuse Treatment, Health Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ivette Torres joined the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the fall of 1997. Ms. Torres oversees the CSAT team responsible for generating and disseminating substance abuse treatment information to SAMHSA’s mission-related constituents. She develops national communication strategies and campaigns including the observance of the National Alcohol and Drug Recovery Month, celebrated each September. Prior to joining CSAT, Ms. Torres was a communications and organizational development consultant serving a multitude of clients including the Children’s Television Workshop, Consumers Union, CSAP/SAMHSA, and a number of health promotion publishing houses. She is a former Senior Director, Communications Services Division, at Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports magazine. At the start of her career, Ms. Torres was an active member of Boston’s Hispanic community. She went on to work for the Office of the Governor in Massachusetts, as a Special Aide, Office of Community Services. She also served as Director of Minority Affairs at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting where she promoted diversity within the system. From 1984 to 1988 Ms. Torres honed her fundraising and management skills while employed at the National Coalition of Hispanic Health Service Organizations (COSSMHO), where within two years she was promoted to Vice-President for Development. In 1988, Ms. Torres joined the National Education Association (NEA) as Senior Professional Associate. At NEA, she developed and oversaw projects to support the association’s many initiatives and continued her working relationships with the mass media to promote such projects. She also chaired the Association’s team on “Education in a Pluralistic Society.” Ms. Torres has a Masters of Science in Telecommunications Policy from George Washington University and a Masters of Education from the School of Rehabilitation Administration from Northeastern University. She participated in the Community Fellows Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the School of Urban Studies and Planning, from 1982-1983.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.