ACTION ALERT: Call Governor Cuomo TODAY to sign the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act (A. 3594-C) into Law!

Call Governor Cuomo TODAY and urge the Governor to sign the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act (A. 3594-C) into Law!

As Governor Declares October Mental Health and Addiction Parity Month in NYS, NASW-NYS Members Urged to Contact Governor to Advocate for Enactment of MH/SUD Parity Report Act (A.3694-C). 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proclaimed October as Mental Health and Addiction Parity Month in New York and officially announced the launch of the new behavioral health ombudsman program, known as the Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Healthcare Project (CHAMP). While NASW-NYS applauds the Governor’s latest efforts, there is one more piece to make the parity pie complete: reporting from insurance companies to ensure compliance.

As such, NASW-NYS is urging to members to take time to call Governor Cuomo TODAY to urge him to sign A.3694-C into law. The bill (Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act), which passed both the Senate and Assembly nearly unanimously, would require insurers, health plans, and behavioral health benefit managers to submit certain key data for the purpose of allowing the Department of Financial Services to evaluate compliance with the parity laws and issue an annual parity report. The American Psychiatric Association has written in support of the New York legislation, characterizing it as “among the strongest parity compliance reporting measures in the nation.”

Call Governor Cuomo TODAY (518-474-8390) to urge him to sign the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Report Act (A.3694-C) into law!

 

Your support can have a huge impact. Please take the five minutes to call today.

 

The Script – Call the Governor at (518-474-8390)

 


Hi, my name is _______________. I am a practicing social worker in New York State. In honor of Mental Health and Addiction Parity Month in New York State, I urge Governor Cuomo to sign A.3694-C into law, which would be among the strongest parity compliance reporting measures in the nation. New York needs compliance with these laws to sustain and enhance care for with those with MH/SUD.

 

Why is this legislation so important and needed?

 

This legislation is important because



  • The current enforcement & compliance system is complaint driven — putting the onus on consumers!

  • This legislation is extremely important as we know non-compliance persists, which unnecessarily delays and/or denies access to care for MH/SUD.

  • The eight settlements/agreements the New York Attorney General reached with several major insurers, health plans, and managers of behavioral health benefits found significant acts of non-compliance, including:

    • applying more stringent and frequent utilization review for MH/SUD as compared to medical/surgical benefits;

    • denying care and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders at higher rates;

    • imposing a higher/specialist copayment rate for outpatient mental health and substance use disorder care than for outpatient/medical surgical care; and

    • using criteria and models inconsistent with the laws and regulations of the State.



  • Now more than ever, this legislation is needed as New York faces an increasing number of suicides and opioids deaths.

    • Recent CDC data shows a 28.8% increase in suicide in New York State between 1999 to 2016. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death with the number of suicide (nationally) surpassing the number of deaths by automobile accidents, homicides, and breast cancer. According to a recent OMH report and plan on suicide prevention, “1,700 New Yorkers died by suicide in 2014. Only four states in the country had a higher number.”

    • Nearly 3,600 opioid deaths occurred in 2016 (a 135% increase between 2013-2016).



  • Compliance with the parity laws is critical to assuring access to care and treatment.

  • Under this legislation, insurers and health plans would have to submit data on: network adequacy; rates of utilization review; rates of adverse determinations; percentage of claims paid for in-network and out-of-network MH/SUD care and treatment; percentage of providers who remained in network; network adequacy; and any other data or metric the Superintendent deems necessary to evaluate compliance with the MH/SUD parity laws.