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For the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, Committee on Health and Human Services
I understand that governor LePage is urging that fees be cut for psychiatric medication management for Mainecare members. I wish you to consider the enormous dangers and destructiveness likely to attend such a plan.
Anyone who is observing with any care will realize that psychiatric services are very scarce in Maine, especially rural Maine such as the Downeast community in which I practice psychotherapy as a licensed psychologist. Patients in need of professional management of life-threatening and life-saving psychopharmacological treatments often have difficulty finding a psychiatric nurse of doctor and need to wait long times or cannot find one who accepts their insurance. Medicaid patients will be especially disadvantaged in this effort, since their payments may be lower and the difficulty many such patients have complying with and addressing their needed services and medications will be greater.
It is imperative that psychiatric services for these patients be increased and that providers' payment be enhanced while their paperwork challenges are moderated, if we hope to see these patients, often very needy, often disorganized and troubled in executive functioning, survive and provide protection and income for their families, without degenerating toward increased illness, psychopathology, abuse behaviors, addictions, self-injuries and suicides.
Stephen Benson, PhD.
Maine licensed psychologist #PS909
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