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TRICARE proposed revisions are great move forward toward equal access and parity for behavioral healthcare

TRICARE, the healthcare program offered by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), is in the process of modernizing its behavioral health benefits. Earlier this month, the DoD published a Proposed Rule entitled TRICARE: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorder Treatment, which can be viewed at: Providers, persons served, and the public can submit their comments on this rule change until April 1, 2016.

CARF is supportive of the Proposed Rule and the direction TRICARE is moving. The proposed updates to the TRICARE regulations aim to remove barriers to how it can fund behavioral health services, which means increased access to quality care for veterans and their families. The efforts by the DoD to modernize its health coverage in this area are part of a larger United States movement toward parity and equal coverage of behavioral health needs compared with the rest of the healthcare system. As discussed in our article titled, “Parity and the modern boom time for mental healthcare in the United States,” there is still work to be done to achieve true parity, so the TRICARE update is a very good indication of progress.

In addition, CARF is excited to have been named in the Proposed Rule as an example of an accrediting body that has developed “strong standards to protect patient care in mental health facilities.” We will continue to develop and provide top-quality standards in this area as the field expands.

(Behavioral Health)

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