TASK FORCE ON ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Kathleen G. Loughran, Chair (chosen by Task Force)

Appointed by Senate President: Delores G. Kelley; Leonard H. Teitelbaum.

Appointed by House Speaker: Peter A. Hammen; Shane E. Pendergrass.

Appointed by Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene: Bonnie B. Katz; Randall M. Lutz, Esq.; Ethel Nemcek; Jeffrey Richardson; Dina R. Sokal, M.D.; Mary Beth Tierney; Fran Wishnick.

Appointed by Maryland Insurance Commissioner: Morton Albert, M.D.; Jonathan Brooke, M.D.; Brenda Conyers-Sorrell.

Appointed by Rural Maryland Council: Bonnie Braun, Ph.D.

Ex officio: David S. Helsel, M.D., designee of Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene; Kathleen G. Loughran, designee of Maryland Insurance Commissioner.

Staff: Lisa M. Kulishek, Esq.

c/o Maryland Insurance Administration
525 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202 - 2272
(410) 468-2218; 1-800-492-6116, ext. 2218 (toll free)
e-mail: lkulishek@mdinsurance.state.md.us
fax: (410) 468-2020; tty: 1-800-735-2258

The Task Force on Access to Mental Health Services formed in August 2003 (Chapter 224, Acts of 2003). The Task Force studied and made recommendations regarding a variety of issues relating to mental health services. It was to decide whether any changes should be made to current mental health parity requirements, and how to ensure that commercially insured individuals have access to medically necessary mental health treatment. Systematic barriers experienced by commercially insured individuals when attempting to access community treatment were examined by the Task Force.

Another goal of the Task Force was to observe and take note of differences in mental health service coverage provided by the public mental health system, commercial health insurers, and commercial health maintenance organizations. In addition, the Task Force monitored the structure and effectiveness of public and private mental heath care delivery systems in the State. Finally, the Task Force studied what impact any recommended changes to the coverage or delivery of services will have on the cost of health care coverage in Maryland.

The Task Force submitted its preliminary report to the Governor and General Assembly in December 2003, and its final report in December 2004.

Authorization for the Task Force extended to December 31, 2004.

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