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Behavioral Health, the “Stepchild of Our Healthcare System”

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at March 21, 2014

First, Happy Spring to everyone. It already feels like summer…..

Second, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge State Representative Gayle Harrell, Chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Healthy Families. She nailed it when she commented during this week’s hearing on HB 479 (and other items) that DCF needs to be bolstered and we do not deserve third world healthcare when it comes to behavioral health issues.

Now, that said, I had breakfast with a friend in the industry this morning and I think I used this same exact quote….

The stepchild of healthcare

Because of the “government policy ineptitude,” Lieberman said that the healthcare system has become sick, and when that happens, mental healthcare gets critically ill. “We suffer more,” he explained. “That’s been our lot in life.”

He said that historically, psychiatry has been the stepchild of healthcare for several reasons: Lacking hard outcomes to use to gather quality metrics, and not fully being able to understand the etiologies/mechanisms of many of the treatments – “we just know that they work.”

Even though mental healthcare may be “the sibling who’s disparaged, the one that the others make jokes about,” it certainly is a vital part of the family that the others don’t want to or can live without, he explained.

He lamented the fact that some neuroscience professionals – Tom Insel and Steve Hyman – have been very hard on the field due to the lack of science-based treatments. He spoke of his colleagues saying things like: “The field of psychiatry doesn’t know anything” and “We can’t treat anybody” and “We need to do better and throw out everything we know in terms of science to start over.” While he believes such sentiments are very unfair, they do represent real frustrations with the current state of psychiatry.

He said that the reality is that psychiatry – in terms of its therapeutic capability, the size of the population it treats, and the economic burden on the country and on the world measured by world bank metrics (disability adjusted life years) – is very consequential.

From the article: “Healthcare: Too Important to Leave to Politicians.”
http://www.behavioral.net/article/healthcare-too-important-be-left-politicians?WA_MAILINGLEVEL_CODE=&spMailingID=45418544&spUserID=NzIyNTIyODgyNzcS1&spJobID=402620602&spReportId=NDAyNjIwNjAyS0

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