Earlier this year the Northshore Child and Guidance Center issued a report
based on over six hundred surveys from Long Islanders entitled ‘Project
Access’–Access to Mental Health and Addiction Treatment. Though the study
was specific to Long Island, the issue are clearly statewide in nature.
Throughout the report, it is clear that for many people mental health parity
has not worked as effectively as it should or needs to be. Among the issues
highlighted in the report include the lack of access to timely treatment,
the lack of enforcement in regard to network adequacy, the high premiums in
commercial insurance and the fact that most people found it much easier to
access physical health care then behavioral health care.
We strongly support the report and the enclosed recommendations. The
Legislature is addressing these concerns, through the two mental health
chairs, Assemblymember Gunther and Senator Ortt, passing legislation that
shines the light on behavioral health parity through more stringent
reporting and oversight requirements from the Department of Financial
Services. We urge Governor Cuomo to sign this legislation.