Parity champions take concerns to federal enforcement agencies

The APA Practice Organization expressed concern in particular about current enforcement procedures.

In early May, the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) joined 16 other parity stakeholder organizations, including NAMI, Mental Health America, the American Psychiatric Association and National Council, on a letter to the federal parity agencies (the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury) regarding the organizations’ shared concerns about full implementation and enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).

The three points of the letter concerned: 

  1. What information will allow beneficiaries and providers to know if a plan is in compliance.
  2. Guidance on states’ roles in implementing MHPAEA.
  3. Enforcement of the law. 

APAPO included language expressing uncertainty about current enforcement procedures. “We have concerns that MHPAEA is not being visibly enforced," says APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Katherine C. Nordal, PhD. "This makes plans less concerned with compliance and leaves all stakeholders uncertain as to how the enforcement agencies are applying MHPAEA to real world problems.”

This letter is part of APAPO’s continued and varied efforts to implement and enforce the law, which include:

  • Two letters (April 2013 and January 2013) to the federal parity agencies about the Final Parity Rule released in late 2013.
  • Forthcoming comments on the proposed rule applying MHPAEA to Medicaid and CHIP.
  • Eight complaint letters to federal and state agencies, in collaboration with state psychological associations, alleging parity violations.
  • Meetings and calls with federal and state enforcement agencies seeking to enforce the law, and make enforcement a top priority.
  • Guidance for psychologists and consumers about what the parity law means and how to address parity problems.

Members with questions can contact our Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs via email or call (202) 336-5886.

Read the letter signed by the APA Practice Organization (PDF, 106KB).