Trending News Today: Small Networks Can Reduce Access to Mental Health Services

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Narrow networks may affect access to mental healthcare services for patients with individual insurance, according to Kaiser Health News. Insurers selling individual plans adopt small networks to control costs and keep premiums low for patients. The average network includes less than 25% of psychiatrists and 10% of non-physician mental health providers, Kaiser reported. The need for mental health services, with few providers, and low reimbursement may also affect access to services, according to Kaiser.

The FDA recently approved a medical scope that has a disposable cap, which may prevent infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can become trapped in the scope, California Healthline reported. Current scopes have areas that can be missed by current cleaning procedures, allowing bacteria to be transferred between patients, the report noted. The novel scope with a removable cap would allow for better sanitization; however, some medical experts question how significantly this new design can reduce infections and note that the design does not address other shortcomings that may place patients at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the article.

Although the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes nearly all controversial aspects of the previous bills, the September 30, 2017, deadline allows the legislation to pass with only 50 votes, according to Politico. The Graham-Cassidy bill would provide states with the option to waive ACA protections for patients with pre-exiting conditions and cap federal Medicaid spending. Despite the speculation that these changes would increase the uninsured rate, GOP legislators may vote in favor of the law as their final effort to repeal the ACA, according to the article.