Editorial: Behavioral health must be a priority in MassHealth reform

June 10, 2016

In this editorial, The Boston Globe says Governor Charlie Baker has an opportunity to make community-based behavioral health care a priority in his MassHealth overhaul. Baker is expected to unveil a draft version of a reform proposal, which will call for dumping the current FFS payment model in favor of an ACO system. Some worry hospitals will opt to bring behavioral health services in-house - instead of working with outside nonprofits - on the premise it will allow them to exert more control over spending, but that would likely lead to less effective and more expensive treatment. In overhauling MassHealth, The Globe says, the state must recognize the importance of maintaining behavioral health outpatient clinics. If their capacity to offer services continues to diminish, more patients will end up in an ER, or they will go without any treatment. The consequences will be expensive - for people whose lives are paralyzed by mental illness or substance abuse, for the state budget, and for society as a whole.