Access to mental health care remains low in Oklahoma, but innovation promises improvement womb

Access to mental health care is not what it should be.

A new, unprecedented report finds major loopholes for Oklahomans who need help, especially those with private insurance. But despite the worrying numbers, the data also shows what our state is doing right.

It’s a reality many Oklahomans have experienced – it’s much easier to take care of a physical health issue than a mental health concern.

“We’re hearing a lot of stories about people not getting the treatment they desperately need, but we didn’t have the data to show how widespread the problem is,” said Angela Kimball, senior vice president of advocacy and advocacy for Inseparables. And it was deeper.” public policy.

The Access report from the advocacy organization Inseparable shows that only a quarter of privately insured Oklahomans with a mental health diagnosis are getting specialized care.

What is surprising is that Oklahomans on Medicaid fare much better in getting treatment.

“In Oklahoma, that rate is 46%, so that’s a huge difference,” Kimball said.

Our state has recently made tremendous efforts to reach all Oklahomans regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

“There is a no wrong door policy at our locations. So, if you come in, we will find a way to help you and do it in a manageable way,” said Bonnie Campeau with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health. and substance abuse services.

ODMHSAS has opened 20 new urgent care mental health facilities across the state in the last year alone, with more to come. And two new hospitals will provide an additional 200 beds for critical needs.

Transport services have now been expanded for people in distress.

And a new 9-8-8 mental health lifeline connects anyone with care 24/7.

“Month over month we see more calls, and people wonder, ‘Is it because there’s more crisis?’ Sometimes it’s just education and awareness, Campo said. “We want people to call.”

Inseparable’s Access Report finds that Oklahoma is one of the leading states in the nation in passing laws to improve mental health care access.

“There are actually elected officials in Oklahoma who care about this issue,” Kimball said. “And they’re starting to adopt smart policies to help those who are really struggling.”

One of those ‘smart policies’ is SB254, which requires insurance to cover out-of-network providers when an in-network provider is not immediately available. This impacts 2 million Oklahomans with commercial insurance. A driving force in advancing the Oklahoma law is the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative.

Jack Stoykoff of Healthy Minds said, “We’ve found that people with commercial health insurance often face barriers to care that don’t exist on the physical health care side.”

He says a major issue is the so-called ‘ghost network,’ which is the list of providers your insurance gives you that purports to be health care professionals they will cover. Most of the healthy brains found could not be reached, and some did not even survive.

“These are networks that appear to be robust,” Stoykoff said. “These are lists of providers that look like they’re located in your community and providing services. But they’re not actually in your community. And they’re not providing services, and they’re not providing your insurance.” Not taking it.”

Stigma also remains a barrier in an issue that affects so many people. One in five Oklahomans struggles with a mental health concern. And our state ranks ninth in suicide cases.

“We are actually losing too many of our children, our parents, our friends and neighbors to mental health and addiction,” Kimball said. “And we can do something about it, starting with improving access to mental health care.”

Indivisible tells us that nine out of ten Oklahomans surveyed said they want expanded mental health coverage as a priority for lawmakers, and they’ve outlined more potential legislation that would do that.Help them with their reports.

ODMHSAS says transparency and transparency are their biggest goals, making all their data available to the public. They do not have data from private or tribal providers.

Additional resources can be found below:

mental health dashboard

substance abuse dashboard

treatment dashboard

988 dashboard

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