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Employer Survey Finds Mental Healthcare Access and Quality Critical but Lacking

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Only 31% of employers were satisfied with network access for behavioral health services according to a survey of 221 employers that provide health coverage to over 10 million employees and dependents. The Voice of the Purchaser Survey on Behavioral Health Support was conducted by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and HR Policy Association and funded by the Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use.

Employers were asked to rank the level of importance in specific areas and their satisfaction with their service providers’ performance. Highlights of the findings include:

  • Network access
    • While 99% agreed that effective and timely access to in-network behavioral health providers is important; 31% expressed dissatisfaction with efforts to identify and address gaps in network access
    • Tele-behavioral health was important to 95% of employers and 65% were satisfied around these services
    • Only 34% of employers agreed that their behavioral health directories were an accurate reflection of the providers available to plan participants
  • Quality of care
    • While 54% were satisfied with the promotion of standardized measurement for behavioral health services, only 33% were satisfied with engagement and reporting of behavioral health outcomes
  • Integration of behavioral health into primary care
    • 84% agreed that it was important that plans support, promote and incentivize integration of behavioral health into primary care, but only 28% were satisfied
    • 64% agreed that early identification through broad use of behavioral health screenings can mitigate the severity of mental health issues
  • Workplace mental health support
    • Achieving high engagement in workplace behavioral health programs was important to 92%, but only 39% were satisfied
  • Health equity and whole person health
    • Only 27% of employers were satisfied that their service providers evaluate and tailor behavioral health services to diverse communities (e.g., LGBTQ+, People of Color)
    • Only 14% of employers were satisfied with service provider support of whole person program integration through data and process coordination

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