Fighting to Help Those With Mental Health Issues [AUDIO]
It's a complaint that's growing increasingly common - New Jersey residents seeking mental health treatment finding out their insurance does not cover what they thought it would cover.
"It's a widespread problem and our system of care is just not addressing it - managed care may work well for physical conditions, but it seems incompatible with mental health conditions that may require protracted therapy," says State Senator Bob Gordon.
He points out thousands of New Jerseyans have mental health challenges that can't be dealt with in five days of care on an outpatient basis.
"Many people are not getting the care they need," he says, "and their conditions continue to deteriorate and some people take their lives."
Katie Rodebaugh, a Care Services Coordinator and patient advocate with HealthCare Assistance Member Support, agrees.
"We're not doing well," she says. "People are being denied over and over again, even though they meet the medical criteria and have the medical necessity for inpatient treat they're being denied inpatient treatment."
The result, says Rodebaugh, is that "they're not being properly managed with their medication and people are relapsing and dying - I'm hoping they start holding managed care companies responsible."
Gordon is promising to speak with mental health experts, and develop legislation that will begin to address the problem.