Skip to content Skip to navigation

New Blogger Joins AddictionPro.com

August 25, 2008
by Daniel Guarnera
| Reprints

This is my inaugural blog entry, and I would like to thank Addiction Professional editor Gary Enos for the opportunity to co-blog with him here. AddictionPro.com has become an indispensable companion to the print magazine, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. By day, I'm the Government Relations Liaison for the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. That means that I spend a lot of my time working with Congress and federal agencies to promote addiction-focused legislation, participating in a variety of policy coalitions, supporting NAADAC and NAATP's Public Policy Committee and our Political Action Committee, and preparing NAADAC and NAATP's annual advocacy conference in Washington. My posts will focus mostly on the public policy, advocacy, and media issues that affect addiction professionals and the prevention, treatment, and recovery community in general. It's my hope that this blog will encourage discussions and dialogue--always feel encouraged to leave comments! By using technology like blogs to share information more quickly and talk about it more easily than ever before, we can all become more influential and effective as advocates.

Topics

Comments

What a great question. The short answer is a resounding "yes!" The bill goes a long way towards "normalizing" addiction treatment under health insurance plans. It says that plans have to cover treatment the same way they cover other medical/surgical care (both through financial limitations and restrictions like day- or lifetime-limits). It also requires insurance companies to show far more transparency about their reasons for coverage denials. Hopefully, all of this will help people to think about treatment as another part of their health plan, rather than as something outside the norm, and thereby reduce stigma against seeking treatment over the long run.But at the same time, it's important to remember that studies of earlier parity bills (at the state level and most notably through the federal employees' health benefits program) have shown that parity usually brings fairly modest increases in the number of people who actually enter treatmentwe can't expect a sea change overnight. According to the Natl. Survey on Drug Use and Health, the overwhelming majority (95%) of the 21 million Americans in need of treatment didn't seek it because they didn't think they needed it. Of the 315,000 people who did know they needed treatment, one-in-three could not access it because of insurance or cost barriers. As treatment and recovery advocates, we have to be ready to educate the public about what the parity bill means for them and their families, as well as continuing to spread the word that treatment works and recovery is possible.You can read more about the Natl. Survey on Drug Use and Health here: http://oas.samhsa.gov/nsduhLatest.htm  

Hi. Do you feel that the federal parity legislation that is getting ever closer to passage adequately addresses NAADAC's and NAATP's concerns related to substance use treatment coverage?

Daniel Guarnera

Daniel Guarnera is the Director of Government Relations for NAADAC, The Association for...