Legislative Priorities for OPPA Advocacy
Access to Psychiatric Treatment Including Medications
The OPPA is committed to promoting and advocating for full access to safe, effective and appropriate medications provided by competent, medically-trained physicians. The OPPA supports the right of patients to have access to medications recommended by their physicians. The OPPA adovates for access to modern psychiatric medications in the public mental health system and jails/prisons.
Child and Adolescent Services
The OPPA is committed to supporting efforts to increase collaboration between and among various stakeholders, including members of the Coalition for Healthy Communities and the Ohio Department of Mental Health, to provide adequate funding and services to promote early diagnosis and treatment of mental health services for all children. The OPPA supports efforts to eliminate the need for parents to relinquish custody of a child with a mental illness in order to obtain treatment through the public mental health system. The OPPA works to improve training and mentoring opportunities to increase the number of child and adolescent physicians in Ohio. The OPPA works to address recruitment and retention of child and adolscent psychiatrists in Ohio.
Confidentiality and Patient Privacy
Information contained in medical records is highly sensitive, particularly with regard to treatment for mental and behavioral health. The OPPA works to ensure protection for patient confidentiality, so that personal information is not inappropriately disclosed. The OPPA works to educate policy makers and the public that confidentiality of medical information is necessary to high quality medical care.
De-Criminalize the Mentally Ill
A revolving door problem has developed in this country where jails and prisons have become the de facto mental health system. The OPPA supports efforts by the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio's Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts to advocate for funding of the public mental health system so that untreated and undertreated individuals with mental illness have access to the care they need and to address the issues of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system.
Health Insurance Reform
The OPPA is committed to working with health insurance companies and the Ohio Department of Insurance to ensure that the companies honor the terms of their agreements for coverage of mental health benefits. The OPPA works to reduce the administrative burdens and hassle-factor imposed on patients and physicians by managed care practices. The OPPA works to educate members on the Patient Protection Act, which provides patients the opportunity to appeal claims where coverage has been denied, first to their insurance carrier, and then through an external appeals process.
Mental Health Parity
Ohio's insurance laws are in conflict with federal parity laws that prohibit insurers from imposing limitations on mental health and substance use disorder services that are more restrictive than for physical health services. The OPPA is working hard to ensure that mental health and substance use disorder treatment is covered under insurance in the same manner as a physcial health condition.
Quality of Care
The OPPA advocates for patients to receive the highest quality mental health services by competent, medically-trained physicians. The OPPA works with primary care physicians to increase access to mental health services and to foster enhanced communication mechanisms for improved coordination of care. The OPPA works to educate policy makers and the public about the role and scope of practice of various health care providers to ensure appropriate and high-quality care standards in Ohio.
Racism and Health Disparities
As an organization of physicians united by our commitment to serving society through the practice of psychiatry, the OPPA recognizes racism as a public health crisis and a changeable contributor to the health disparities that exist in our society. The OPPA condemns racism in all forms and is committed to working with Ohio's leaders to make changes that eradicate systemic racism and improve health disparities for Ohioans.
People with mental illness have to endure a great deal more than their illness - they are also burdened with the stigma of negative stereotyping and discrimination. Mental illness often generates misunderstanding, predjudice, confusion and fear. The stigma associated with mental illness may stop people from seeking help when they need it. The OPPA actively works with other organizations to educate policy makers, other health care professionals and the public about mental illnesses and the excellent outcomes associated with treatment in order to reduce and eliminate stigma.
The OPPA works actively with other organizations, like the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, to reduce the rate of suicide by promoting treatment for mental disorders, creating awareness of policy makers and the public that suicide is a preventable health issue - and that treatment works!