Mental Health Care


I read with great interest Dottie Pacharis’ March 11th article concerning Mental Illness.

With the new Mental Health Crisis Act-HR2646 headed through congress I would suggest that we look at the front line of mental health care and treatment. The Psychiatrists.

It has been my experience that psychiatrists, as a group, do not accept medical insurance. Their office manager gives the patient a form to fill out and the patient files their own insurance. The patient pays cash at time of service.

This all seems reasonable until you remember that all insurance companies apply disallows to all medical treatment. The disallow can be as much as half of the charge. For a $200 appointment the patient will get $100.00 back from insurance, once the deductible has been met.

Psychiatrists tell me that the patient is more invested in their treatment and recovery by paying cash. Indeed they are, and it allows the Psychiatrist to make 100% of their fee. An internist or pediatrician makes about 70% of the charged amount and has to hire a billing company to collect it from the insurance company.

Families with trouble children, the working class, disabled, mentally ill, cannot afford treatment, even if they have insurance. They do not have the upfront cash to pay week after week.

All this is very confusing I know, especially if you are having emotional problems.

I firmly believe that no reform will take place until the Psychiatrists accept insurance payments the same way that all other medical doctors do. Mental Health Care should not be a service only the wealthy can afford.

Psychiatrists need to remember they are Medical Practitioners treating a medical problem.


Mary Louise Bauman

Fort Myers Beach