Sue Devlin, Executive Director at CBH Care, the North Jersey-based community mental and behavioral health service that provides assistance to some 200 outpatient consumers every day, issued the following statement supporting legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for mental health services at a comparably to physical healthcare. The legislation has passed both the State Senate and the Assembly, and currently awaits Governor Phil Murphy’s signature.
“I commend the State Senate and Assembly for passing this common sense legislation that recognizes mental health issues cannot simply be swept under the rug. This is the exact reason the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was passed, but insurance companies still have denied coverage for patients with conditions ranging from seasonal depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, denying access to top rated prescription drugs, and only paid for generic or less proven medications. I know, from the 4,000 consumers we serve every year at CBH Care, how important access to therapy sessions and the proper medications -- rather than the cheapest ones -- can be in managing mental health disorders and preventing mental health crises. I encourage Governor Murphy to sign this responsible legislation that, if enforced, will save hundreds of lives and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of New Jersey families affected by mentalillness.”
Devlin has worked at CBH Care for 29 years, including time with the individuals in CBH Care-operated residences, and individuals in state hospitals. She recently succeeded Peter Scerbo as the organization's Executive Director after he retired earlier this year following an exemplary career leading CBH Care.
The legislation requires coverage for all mental illnesses defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the reference guide for all mental health practitioners. The state Department of Banking and Insurance would allowed to fine companies if they violate the law, holding insurance companies to a higher standard than currently exists.