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Advocates In Kansas Seek Solutions To Disparities In Mental Health Coverage

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A mental health organization in Kansas is seeking solutions from the state after a national report shows ongoing disparities in mental health coverage.

  

The survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, reveals that people lack the same access to mental health providers as they have for other medical providers. In Kansas, the data shows that in 2015, people had to seek therapists outside of their insurance network at a rate of 7 to 1 compared to primary care services.

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Rick Cagan, executive director for NAMI Kansas, says "it's time to level the playing field" when it comes to mental health coverage.

"It's time to level the playing field," says Rick Cagan, executive director of NAMI Kansas. "We need the insurance commissioner to take steps to make sure that there are regular market audits around what we call parity compliance for all private health insurance and Medicaid managed care plans."

Cagan says more than half of Kansas children and adults with a serious mental health condition are not in treatment.

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Carla Eckels is KMUW's director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.