Support mental healthcare for our elderly!

Support mental healthcare for our elderly!

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julie angileri started this petition to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

Our vulnerable adults are experiencing a public health crisis and dying because they have extremely limited access to mental health services.  Men aged 85 years or older have a suicide rate of 45.23 per 100,000, compared to an overall rate of 11.01 per 100,000 for all ages (1).  Of those age 55 and older, 1 in 5 experience a mental health condition (1). 

CMS (Medicare) has determined that under most circumstances, people who are covered under Medicare plans are not able to get telehealth services.  They must live in a certain area and go to a doctor's office for their mental health care.  That means all our elderly who are isolated in memory care units, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, group have limited access to psychiatric services.  This ends up costing taxpayers more money because elderly people end up with more physical complaints requiring testing, PCP visits, and medications for conditions that are often caused by depression, isolation, and anxiety.  In the case of patients with dementia, it is detrimental to take them out of their familiar environment to get to them to the psychiatric care office. 

Currently, under the CARES act, CMS is allowing telehealth visits for patients in the place they live in for mental health services.  This means, people are finally getting access to much needed care.  This has reduced hospitalizations and PCP visits.  We want to STRONGLY SUGGEST CMS continue this healthy policy.  

 

1.       https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/mental_health.pdf

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