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After Vermont mental health advocates earlier this year advanced the idea of addressing access-to-care problems by barring insurers from subcontracting their behavioral health coverage administration to another management entity, that dramatic step has been abandoned in favor of a more regulatory approach.
State legislators late last month met in a House-Senate conference committee and approved a new version of Senate Bill 114, readying it for signature by the state's governor. While the bill maintains its original goals of barring insurers from erecting barriers to appropriate care and of achieving true integration of mental health and addiction services with general health care in the state, it now will seek to achieve this through demanding more performance accountability from the state's health insurance companies.
"We decided to write what we would call a model piece of regulatory legislation," Ken Libertoff, director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health, …