2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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OPEN ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT AND SERVICES

†††† WHEREAS, mental illness is prevalent in America and failure to acknowledge and treat it results in extraordinary costs to families and government, as well as cause individual suffering; and

†††† WHEREAS, the stigma and treatment of mental illness is impacted by unique cultural and ethnic traditions and characteristics particularly in communities of color; and

†††† WHEREAS, it is widely acknowledged by health scientists that individuals react in manners that vary upon receiving a given treatment, yet historically participation of members from communities of color in clinical trials has been limited in the U.S.; and

†††† WHEREAS, progress is being made to include and analyze data from ethnic minorities in clinical trials; and

†††† WHEREAS, ethnic minorities continue to experience pervasive disparities in their health status indices in America; and

†††† WHEREAS, persons with mental illness enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare are among our countryís most vulnerable citizens; and

†††† WHEREAS, as healthcare expenditures grow, many state Medicaid programs are responding to the need to cut costs by increasing restrictions on access to medications and services; and

†††† WHEREAS, failure to provide access to necessary treatments and services for mental illness could result in increased costs and suffering for patients and their families; and

†††† WHEREAS, prior authorization requirements and restrictions could disrupt the clinical relationship between doctor and patient and cause doctors, pharmacists, patients and their families to waste time, money and worry; and

†††† WHEREAS, restrictions on mental health treatments and services in Medicaid could harm and may fail to recognize the benefits of recent research, which includes data on ethnic minorities; and

WHEREAS, bureaucratic appeals mechanisms delay treatment and cause patients and their families anxiety about whether they are receiving the medical care the doctor thinks is best or only the medical care that the payer will allow,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U. S. Conference of Mayors supports legislation to remove impediments within the Medicaid system that attempt to control the doctorís recommendation and the patientís access to a course of treatment to meet the patientís mental health needs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U. S. Conference of Mayors supports efforts to provide treatments, health education, and services that recognize the particular needs of our communities, especially minority communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U. S. Conference of Mayors calls on the mayors to begin a public dialogue within their communities on mental health with the goal of erasing the stigma and fear of mental illness; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U. S. Conference of Mayors calls on all concerned parties to increase minority and under represented communitiesí participation in clinical trials.


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors