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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2009; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.60.8.1149
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Webcast on inclusion of mental health in health care reform: On June 8, 2009, U.S. Health and Human Services officials convened a meeting to discuss opportunities to ensure that imminent health care reform efforts include prevention of and treatment for mental and substance use disorders. Main presenters at the two-hour meeting, which is available as a Webcast, were William Emmett, director of the Campaign for Mental Health Reform, and Paul Samuels, director and president of the Legal Action Center. They discussed several pieces of proposed health care reform legislation in light of nine core consensus principles for inclusion of mental health and substance use disorders. These nine principles, which were developed to complement the eight guiding principles for health care reform introduced by the Obama Administration, are summarized in a document released in May 2009 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Ensuring U.S. Health Reform Includes Prevention and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders: A Framework for Discussion: Core Consensus Principles. The document is based on the input of hundreds of stakeholders, who were invited to contribute insights and recommendations to ensure that "prevention and treatment for mental and substance use disorders is a priority rather than an afterthought." The Webcast of the June 8 meeting is archived on the National Institutes of Health Web site at videocast.nih.gov. The consensus document is available on the SAMHSA Web site at www.samhsa.gov/healthreform.

Kaiser tool to compare reform proposals: The Kaiser Family Foundation has developed an interactive side-by-side tool comparing the leading comprehensive reform proposals across a number of key characteristics and plan components. Included are proposals for moving toward universal coverage that have been put forward by the Administration and members of Congress. Both proposals that have been formally introduced as legislation and those that have been offered as principles or in "white paper" form are compared. Users check off the proposals they wish to compare and up to 17 features on which to compare them, including employer requirements, creation of insurance pooling mechanisms, benefit design, and state role. The tool, which is available on the Kaiser Web site at www.kff.org, is regularly updated to reflect changes in proposals and incorporate major new proposals as they are announced.

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