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Symposium on the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act


WASHINGTON — URAC, the nation's leading healthcare accreditation and education organization, and Hayes, Inc., the nation's leading health technology research and consulting company, announce a two-day symposium “The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act: Implications for All Stakeholders” to be held June 23-24, 2010 at the Pier 5 Hotel in Baltimore, MD. The act is intended to eliminate the differences in healthcare coverage between medical/surgical conditions and mental health and substance use disorders by mandating that group health plans not impose annual or lifetime dollar limits or access to care restrictions on mental health and addiction benefits that are less favorable than any such limits imposed on medical/surgical benefits.

“Presenting a forum for stakeholders to discuss the impacts of these regulations reaffirms URAC's commitment and leadership in promoting quality healthcare through education,” said Alan P. Spielman, President and CEO of URAC. “This symposium will address the direct impacts of the act and provide clarity and direction for how to move forward in this new environment of mental health coverage and care management.”

The Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act: Implications for All Stakeholders symposium will showcase legal experts, researchers, and national speakers on mental health parity and convene multiple stakeholder groups ranging from providers of mental health services to consumers, employers and payers.

“This law, along with an expanded access to behavioral health benefits for a growing Medicaid population through the newly enacted Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, will have a profound impact on the care of those with behavioral health and substance use disorders, those who provide their care, those who manage or oversee this care, and those who fund these services,” stated Dr. Winifred Hayes, CEO of Hayes, Inc. “This conference forum will provide an opportunity to anticipate the impact on all stakeholders and to discuss concerns, implications and, as applicable, management/response strategies that will help to control potential pitfalls and realize the healthcare goals of the law.”

The regulations that guide implementation of this law were published on February 2, 2010, and will be effective for health plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010. This conference will provide attendees with a forum to ask questions regarding implementation of the law and regulations, discuss their implications, and review research findings related to the implementation of similar laws at the state level and in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). The conference will close with an invited panel of experts who have been asked to develop a framework for future monitoring of the impact of the law.

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