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Third Child Provider Closes

posted Jun 7, 2011, 6:16 AM by DC Behavioral Health Association
Last week, the D.C. Department of Mental Health confirmed that Scruples Corporation closed.  Scruples is the third children's core service agency to close in the last six months, meaning that the remaining providers have had to expand by 14%.
The City Needs More Mental Health Practitioners

Eight recent studies have found that the number of Medicaid-funded mental health practitioners is inadequate.   Yet the District has exacerbated this problem by cutting the amount it pays mental health providers to serve DC residents.  Lower reimbursements mean that fewer providers will choose to participate in Medicaid.  This suggests that DC’s mental health provider shortfall will grow worse.

What does worse mean?  At yesterday’s Council hearing, Dr. Adair Parr from Children’s National Medical Center testified that there is a 10-week wait for a child served by Medicaid to see a psychiatrist at Children’s outpatient clinic.  Thus, families who need help for their children already have to wait 70 days – or almost one-third of a school-year – to get their first appointment.