A newly issued report documents how difficult it can be to access mental health providers through private insurance here in Oklahoma
We offer a discussion of this new report with the executive director of the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, a Tulsa-based nonprofit.
Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Zack Stoycoff, executive director of the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative (or simply "Healthy Minds"). With 10+ years of experience researching, analyzing, and advancing public policy in our state--especially in connection with mental health and substance use disorders--he joins us to discuss the findings of an important study that Healthy Minds just released concerning whether and how those with private insurance can access mental/behavioral health providers. Per the Healthy Minds website: "Considering that nearly 50% of Oklahomans experience a mental illness or addiction during their lifetimes, the public health implications of delayed and expensive care for so many Oklahomans with private insurance are vast. Using network directories, licensure data, a survey of licensed providers, and verification calls to providers listed in network directories, Healthy Minds tested the accessibility of the largest commercial health insurance networks in Oklahoma. We found that health insurance networks offer poor access to the state's behavioral health care providers -- a barrier to care for more than 2 million Oklahomans with these plans. With implications for health outcomes across the state, the problem will require action by insurers, policymakers, providers, and employers."