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Psychiatric care: Longer waits predicted under ACA
Pathway, the only health care plan available under the New Hampshire-based exchange, has signed up a limited number of providers and hospitals to its network. A flood of new patients to a small number of providers will mean longer wait times, Greenwald said.
Dugan said that The Counseling Center of Nashua was invited to join Pathway, but it declined. The Counseling Center also does not accept Medicare or Medicaid, Greenwald said. He said his firm can't be viable with the low rates.However, Snow said the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester can live with Pathway rates. That's because uninsured patients can't pay as it is.
Obamacare is expected to provide health insurance to 120,000 to 170,000 New Hampshire residents, Greenwald said, citing state Insurance Department estimates. If actuarial tables hold true, between 16,000 and 25,000 of the people newly insured under Obamacare will seek behavioral health services, including psychiatric care, drug and alcohol treatment and other services, Greenwald said.According to his data, the system is already stressed.
At the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center, a child can wait six weeks to see a therapist, and psychiatric appointments are on average a one-month wait. Greenwald said he found much longer waits, and a lack of providers, in rural areas of the state.
She noted that many providers did accept the lower Pathway payment rates.
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