LP Spring 2018 - 29

SPRING 2018

Mental Health Care Perspectives

The Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, which is currently under construction
and expected to open this summer, will
alleviate some of that problem by providing
additional inpatient treatment for adolescents in needs.
Addressing mental health problems
among youth is critical because, if left
untreated, they can have a devastating
effect on a person's future, added Saunders.
"The time that we see these problems
develop is just at the time that the individual
is supposed to be at their most productive,"
she said.
According to Marucco, there also is a need
for increased mental health services for older
adults, as the Lancaster area has become a
popular retirement spot. UPMC Pinnacle
focuses on the issue of geriatric health and
is working to address those needs.
Hess said that the opioid addiction epidemic has caused additional difficulties in
the treatment of patients with behavioral
health issues.
Of patients served at Philhaven, 43
percent suffer from substance abuse issues
in addition to other behavioral health
conditions. That makes treatment more
complicated and difficult, Hess noted. Many
of those served in the WellSpan Philhaven
unit for medically complex patients at
WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital
also face issues with substance use disorder.
And, he said, the problem of addiction
shows no signs of resolving.
"There is no end in sight."
WHY DOES THERE SEEM
TO BE MORE SUPPORT AND
FUNDING FOR TREATMENT OF
PHYSICAL PROBLEMS THAN
FOR THAT OF MENTAL HEALTH
CONDITIONS?
Although the situation has improved,
mental health patients still experience a
negative stigma, with some people believing

DEPRESSION, ANXIETY,
AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
DISORDERS ARE AMONG

the most widespread
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
PROBLEMS IN OUR AREA.
that the mentally ill are not worthy of
treatment, or that treatment does not work,
Marucco explained.

"And that is critical for putting together
good systems for the treatment of addiction," Saunders said.

And, treatment for mental health issues
can be expensive because it can take a
long time.

Reimbursement for mental health care
from health insurers increased after the
passage of the Mental Health Parity and
Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and was
further strengthened by the Affordable Care
Act, according to Van Bramer.

"Mental illness isn't like a broken bone
or sinus infection," he said. "You can't just
cast it and wait for it to heal, or take an
antibiotic to get rid of the infection."
Hess said that at current levels of funding,
it's very difficult to manage a behavioral
health system that is sustainable.
However, he continued, positive changes resulted when the Patient Protection
and Affordable Care Act went into place,
because the focus changed from treating
a sick patient to keeping patients healthy.
"And, if that's your goal, then you can't
not focus on mental health," Hess said.
Saunders said she is hopeful that, as
awareness about mental health and the
impact that mental health issues have on
individuals, their families, and society as a
whole increases, more funding will become
available for both care and research.
She noted that the Pennsylvania legislature under the Wolf administration has
been proactive in supporting the need for
treatment for those suffering from substance
abuse disorder.

However, she warned, there is much more
work to be done, including the passage of
recent bipartisan legislative proposals to
eliminate a Medicaid exclusion that currently prevents some people from accessing
inpatient treatment.
Saunders is hopeful that the public and
lawmakers will continue to look at how
mental health treatment is paid for and
press for equal access to care for those
needing treatment.
"We have to continue to make all parties
aware that this is something that needs to
keep moving forward," she said.
TELL US WHAT YOUR HEALTH
CARE SYSTEM IS DOING TO
MAKE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
CARE SERVICES MORE
ACCESSIBLE FOR PATIENTS.
While Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital and UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster are
focusing on inpatient care, WellSpan Health
and Penn State Health are excited about
Continued on page 30

LANCASTER

29

PHYSICIAN



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LP Spring 2018

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPFall21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSummer21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPFall20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LancasterPhysicianSummer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPFall19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSummer19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPFall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSummer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring17
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