Insurance company examiners in Massachusetts say emergency room patients who need behavioral health care seem to wait longer for beds than patients who need other types of inpatient care do. But the patient records are incomplete, and it’s not clear whether health insurers are contributing to the delays with any violations of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), state officials say in a new behavioral health examination report.
“The records do not have enough information to draw conclusions, especially since the records are not consistent from one carrier to another, or even within a given carrier,” officials say.
Officials in the Massachusetts Division of Insurance prepared the report using information from outside reviewers at Dixon Hughes Goodman L.L.P.
The reviewers looked at patient records in the offices of nine health insurance carriers. The reviewers looked at 25 non-behavioral health records for each carrier, and 50 behavioral health records for each carrier.
The reviewers found that 40 of the 225 non-behavioral health patients were admitted to an inpatient hospital bed straight from the emergency room. And that 341 of the behavioral health patients went from the emergency room to an inpatient behavioral health bed.