Scattergood Ethics

Behavioral Healthcare & the Affordable Care Act

Dominic Sisti, PhD

DBHIDS- Health Reform and Health Equity Newsletter

September 2012

Since well before the moment President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law in March 2010, confusion has reigned supreme about the nature, scope, and sequence of the law’s many provisions. It is not surprising that there continues to be genuine confusion and concern among clinicians and behavioral healthcare providers—individuals, agencies, and municipal departments who treat patients with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. The impact of health reform on behavioral healthcare has been difficult to predict, in part, because the law is complex and involves a diverse array of stakeholders.

It seems however, that on balance, the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be extremely positive for both providers and consumers of behavioral healthcare. In addition to expanding insurance coverage, the ACA includes dozens of initiatives that reflect the core goals of recovery-based and patient-centered healthcare.