Hillary Clinton reveals mental health plan that taps telehealth for care coordination

Clinton promises to adjust payment systems for telepsychiatry and other services, increase funding for research into brain science and PTSD, and to study suicide prevention.
By Bernie Monegain
10:50 AM
Hillary Clinton telehealth

Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton posted her plans for mental health care on August 29 with a focus on harnessing information technologies to bolster care coordination.

Clinton said she would adjust payment systems in Medicare, Medicaid, and under the Public Health Service Act to allow for reimbursement of telepsychiatry and other telehealth services delivered through primary care and hospital settings.

"We've got to break through and break down the stigma and shame,” Clinton said. “We've got to make clear that mental health is not a personal failing. Right now it's our country which is failing people with mental health issues.”

Her plan also calls for increasing research into brain and behavioral science, including work on PTSD traumatic brain injury; developing new links with private and nonprofit sectors; and brain and behavioral science research based on open data. Clinton also promised to direct federal agencies to study suicide and how to prevent it. Her plan also calls for training law enforcement officers to recognize and relate with people who have a mental illness.

A fifth of Americans deal with some form of mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression, according to National Alliance on Mental Illness. Also, one in 25 Americans have a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Clinton’s plan coincides with the findings of a new Intermountain Healthcare study that concludes integrating mental and physical health results in better outcomes for patients and can lower costs.

"The study reinforces the value of coordinated team relationships within a delivery system and the importance of integrating physical and mental health care, Intermountain’s Brenda Reiss-Brennan said.

Clinton’s Republican opponent Donald Trump has also called on Congress to act on healthcare reform and also on mental health.

“We need to reform our mental health programs and institutions in this country. Families, without the ability to get the information needed to help those who are ailing, are too often not given the tools to help their loved ones," Trump said. "There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support."

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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