What the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Means for the Future of Mental Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in March last year, and aims to improve all aspects of our country’s health services. One aspect that will be further improved is the field of mental health care.

Inadequate coverage and lack of programs that educate the public about mental illness have plagued the United States for some time. With the enactment of the new law, a number of new provisions aim to change people’s perceptions about mental illness and offer programs and other initiatives to help those who need mental health care. Some of the provisions include:

Medicaid improvements (including expansion of eligibility) that will allow more people to benefit from mental health services
New options for people with disabilities
Improve coordination and communication between primary care and mental health services

Basically, this means that, over time, individuals with mental illness will have access to health insurance that includes mental illness and substance abuse services, providing people with unprecedented assistance and cooperation from the government. Other services include prevention programs, new insurance plans for long-term community care, and more.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care also aims to improve health services in the workplace. This stipulates that starting in 2014, employers can offer greater incentives for positive lifestyle practices or employee participation in health promotion programs. PPACA also created a grant program to help small businesses provide comprehensive workplace health programs. Grants will be given to employers who are eligible to give their employees access to health initiatives in the new workplace.

Grants will begin in 2011 with $ 200 million allocated for a period of five years. PPACA outlines that a comprehensive workplace health program must be made available to all employees and includes health awareness initiatives (including health education, prevention screening, and health risk assessment) as well as supporting environmental efforts (including workplace policies to encourage healthy lifestyles, eating healthy, increase physical activity, and improve mental health).

A better workplace atmosphere in terms of awareness of mental illness is very important, because knowledge about mental health is not well known in the workplace program. It has been learned that employees want to become more understanding of mental illness and ways to treat it, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aims to achieve that.

Mental health services will undergo a major renovation with the government’s commitment to overall health care reform. Those suffering from mental illness will find it easier to seek help and others will find more information about mental illness to create a better understanding of how this health service operates. By creating a more cohesive health care system for mental illness, our society will not only be more fluid in its operations, but also more knowledgeable and, therefore, better for it.