Is Gun Violence A Health Disparity?

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Releasing a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover

Finalizing regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges

Committing to finalizing mental health parity regulations and launching a national dialogue on mental health.

In an op-ed response following the Sandy Hook tragedy, Dr. Bailey proposed a three step approach to address violence:

Prevention: Physicians are trained to detect subtle signs of fragile and potentially violent thinking. States must support mental health programs with words, actions and resources.

Risk Management: Our country needs more restricted limits on gun ownership and a ban on the sale of assault weapons as a first step.

Education: We are educating our society with more violence by providing easy access to violent video games and other readily accessible violent entertainment…not less.

Dr. Bailey alerts the nation that people with severe mental illness are at greater risk of being victims of violent crimes versus the perpetrators. We must not categorize all patients with mental health needs as violent and capable of these horrendous acts.

The NMA is concerned about the potential risks to patient confidentiality, increased stigma and barriers to persons needing mental health evaluation. The organization is committed to working with the federal, state and local agencies in developing the protocols for implementation. Healthcare professionals must be at the table from the beginning and seen as invaluable partners in addressing gun violence.

“The NMA is uniquely prepared to partner and lead aspects of this national gun control initiative,” stated Dr. Bailey. “As the nation’s leading African American psychiatrists, trauma surgeons, emergency room, and primary care physicians; we are on the front lines every day trying our best to repair the damage done by an unconscionable amount of violence to the victims and their families; both physically and mentally. The nation must reduce the carnage today, because tomorrow is too long to wait.”

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Originally seen on http://blackdoctor.org/

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