Mental Health Parity
- Wayne LindstromWayne LindstromWayne Lindstrom’s career in behavioral health spans 42 years. He has a Ph.D. in Applied Social Sciences from Case Western Reserve University, a MSW from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA from Bowling Green State University. His career began in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War era, where he was responsible for implementing and managing one of the military’s first outpatient drug treatment clinics. The work that he has accomplished in the field of addictions culminated in his gubernatorial appointment to direct Ohio’s single state authority for addiction services. In addition to serving as a clinician and manager in a variety of different treatment settings, he worked as an executive in managed behavioral healthcare for twelve years. Subsequently, he managed his own organizational development company. His last position was as the President and CEO of Mental Health America, formerly, the National Mental Health Association.
Continuing a history of inequity, private insurers have placed restrictions and limitations on coverage for mental health conditions making access to treatment services increasingly more challenging. A state-by-state advocacy movement has led to the enactment of various state laws to require mental health parity. With the Clinton Administration’s attempt at health care reform, mental health parity became part of the health reform debate and led to the passage of the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996. The inadequacies of this law were partially corrected in the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which included mandated coverage for substance use conditions. The Obama Administration in 2011 included these provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which does not require compliance monitoring nor does it provide a definition for “mental health,” which leaves insurers to define it and hence determine what coverage will actually be available.