TRENTON – The Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Fred Madden that would require health insurance carriers to provide coverage for the treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders through collaborative care.
The bill, S-352, would require health insurance carriers to provide coverage for benefits provided through the collaborative care model in the treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders. The collaborative care model is an integration of psychiatric treatment and primary care to create a patient-centered experience and reduce fragmented care within the healthcare system.
“Many residents who struggle with mental illness and substance use disorders feel they have nowhere to turn. These include our military veterans, and more and more, our young people. Treating behavioral conditions such as depression and anxiety through primary care settings has shown to be a highly effective strategy,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “This bill will help individuals facing mental health crisis or substance use disorders get the kind of coordinated treatment they need in a more persistent, less costly system of care.”
Collaborative care originated in and has been tested in more than 80 randomized controlled trials in the United States and abroad. Several recent meta-analyses show collaborative care to be a pragmatic, team-based approach that consistently improves on patient care outcomes.
“Thankfully, behavioral health care treatment no longer carries the sort of stigma that it once did. Still, individuals in need of even basic care for our most prevalent mental health conditions can fall between the cracks of our health care system,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden), Vice Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Research has shown collaborative care to be a practical, affordable approach that yields long-term, positive results.”
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 40-0.