Ren Scheuerman, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and Louisville native who worked with PsychBC in Cleveland, is moving back to open up a PsychBC clinic at 10200 Forest Green Blvd. in the Hurstbourne area. He told Sonka that most smaller outpatient psychiatric providers operate on a cash-only basis.
“It’s going to be great for the patients in Louisville, because most people have mental-health coverage on their health insurance,” Scheuerman told Sonka. “We now technically have parity in mental health, but because so many providers don’t take insurance, it really creates a financial hardship for a lot of patients. Twenty-dollar co-pays are affordable, but going every month or two weeks for $150 is just not affordable for most people … and most primary-care providers don’t do psychotropics anymore, just because of legal liability.”
Alex D’Auria, PsychBC’s community relations director in Cleveland, told Sonka that the Louisville clinic will accept a wide variety of private insurers, in addition to Medicaid managed care organizations CareSource and CoventryCares.
Sonka spoke to experts who said smaller psychiatric clinics and private-practice psychiatrists don’t accept insurance because they don’t have the staff to manage all of the “red tape on claims” required by insurance companies and their managed-care subsidiaries, and because “reimbursement rates are too low.” He also found that private psychiatrists “are not taking the really difficult cases either.”
Dave Langdon, spokesman for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, told Sonka that this lack of private providers is especially noteworthy for the considerable number of individuals who gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The “ACA aims to give parity between medical health and behavioral health services, but there are few psychiatrists or psychologists who take Medicaid,” Langdon told Sonka.