Health care reform poses new challenges and opportunities for those being treated for mental health issues or addiction recovery.
Wednesday, members of the Green Mountain Care Board, legislators and other health officials got to hear from a wide range of patients and providers about changes they would like to see under the proposed single-payer system-- changes like a greater emphasis on treatment and prevention.
"If you have a substance abuse disorder you go to a treatment situation and then you're gone, you're not called back. It's not a chronic situation. We need to treat it differently. We need to treat it medically," said Dick Turner of Phoenix House.
"There are preventionologists-- people who are doing so much research to find out about the brain, the teenage brain, fetal alcohol syndrome disorders and how much addiction really ruins people's lives. It's not enough to just say no, we need to use all of the knowledge that we have now to do some things differently," said Ann Gilbert of the Central Vermont New Directions Coalition.
Patients said they would like to see alternative forms of mental health treatment that might have not been covered in the past, like massage or service dogs. The first big step in the reform process happens next fall as enrollment in the new health care exchanges begins.
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