Print Print
  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XXII CORPORATIONS
  • CHAPTER 176G HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATIONS
  • Section 4M Mental health benefits; biologically-based mental disorders; rape-related mental disorders; non-biologically-based mental disorders of children and adolescents under age 19

Section 4M. (a) A health maintenance contract issued or renewed within or without the commonwealth shall provide mental health benefits on a nondiscriminatory basis to residents of the commonwealth and to all members or enrollees having a principal place of employment in the commonwealth for the diagnosis and treatment of the following biologically-based mental disorders, as described in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, referred to in this section as the DSM: (1) schizophrenia; (2) schizoaffective disorder; (3) major depressive disorder; (4) bipolar disorder; (5) paranoia and other psychotic disorders; (6) obsessive-compulsive disorder; (7) panic disorder; (8) delirium and dementia; (9) affective disorders; (10) eating disorders; (11) post traumatic stress disorder; (12) substance abuse disorders; and (13) autism.

A health maintenance contract issued or renewed within or without the commonwealth shall provide mental health benefits on a nondiscriminatory basis to residents of the commonwealth and to all members or enrollees having a principal place of employment in the commonwealth for the diagnosis and medically necessary and active treatment of any mental disorder, as described in the most recent edition of the DSM, that is approved by the commissioner of mental health.

(b) In addition to the mental health benefits established pursuant to this section, any such health maintenance contract shall also provide benefits on a non-discriminatory basis for the diagnosis and treatment of rape-related mental or emotional disorders to victims of a rape or victims of an assault with intent to commit rape, as defined by sections 22 and 24 of chapter 265, whenever the costs of such diagnosis and treatment exceed the maximum compensation awarded to such victims pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of section 3 of chapter 258C.

(c) In addition to said mental health benefits established pursuant to this section, any such health maintenance contract shall also provide benefits on a non-discriminatory basis to children and adolescents under the age of 19 for the diagnosis and treatment of non-biologically-based mental, behavioral or emotional disorders, as described in the most recent edition of the DSM, which substantially interfere with or substantially limit the functioning and social interactions of such a child or adolescent; provided, that said interference or limitation is documented by and the referral for said diagnosis and treatment is made by the primary care provider, primary pediatrician or a licensed mental health professional of such a child or adolescent or is evidenced by conduct, including, but not limited to: (1) an inability to attend school as a result of such a disorder, (2) the need to hospitalize the child or adolescent as a result of such a disorder, (3) a pattern of conduct or behavior caused by such a disorder which poses a serious danger to self or others. The health maintenance organization shall continue to provide such benefits to any adolescent who is engaged in an ongoing course of treatment beyond the adolescent’s nineteenth birthday until said course of treatment, as specified in said adolescent’s treatment plan, is completed and while the benefit contract under which such benefits first became available remains in effect, or subject to a subsequent benefits contract which is in effect.

(d) Any such health maintenance contract shall be deemed to be providing such coverage on a non-discriminatory basis if the health maintenance contract does not contain any annual or lifetime dollar or unit of service limitation on coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of said mental disorders which is less than any annual or lifetime dollar or unit of service limitation imposed on coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of physical conditions.

(e) Any such health maintenance contract shall also provide benefits for the diagnosis and treatment of all other mental disorders not otherwise provided for in this section and which are described in the most recent edition of the DSM during each 12 month period for a minimum of 60 days of inpatient treatment and for a minimum of 24 outpatient visits.

[There is no subsection (f).]

(g) Benefits authorized pursuant to this section shall consist of a range of inpatient, intermediate, and outpatient services that shall permit medically necessary and active and noncustodial treatment for said mental disorders to take place in the least restrictive clinically appropriate setting. For purposes of this section, inpatient services may be provided in a general hospital licensed to provide such services, in a facility under the direction and supervision of the department of mental health, in a private mental hospital licensed by the department of mental health, or in a substance abuse facility licensed by the department of public health. Intermediate services shall include, but not be limited to, Level III community-based detoxification, acute residential treatment, partial hospitalization, day treatment and crisis stabilization licensed or approved by the department of public health or the department of mental health. Outpatient services may be provided in a licensed hospital, a mental health or substance abuse clinic licensed by the department of public health, a public community mental health center, a professional office, or home-based services, provided, however, services delivered in such offices or settings are rendered by a licensed mental health professional acting within the scope of his license.

(h) No health maintenance organization shall require as a condition to receiving benefits mandated by this section consent to the disclosure of information regarding services for mental disorders under different terms and conditions than consent is required for disclosure of information for other medical conditions. A determination by a health maintenance organization that services authorized pursuant to this section are not medically necessary shall only be made by a licensed mental health professional; provided, that this provision shall not be construed as applying to denials of service resulting from an insured’s lack of insurance coverage or use of a facility or professional which has not entered into a negotiated agreement with the health maintenance organization. The benefits provided in any health maintenance contract pursuant to this section shall meet all other terms and conditions of the health maintenance contract not inconsistent with this section.

(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a health maintenance organization to pay for mental health benefits or services: which are provided to a person who has third party insurance and who is presently incarcerated, confined or committed to a jail, house of correction or prison, or custodial facility in the department of youth services within the commonwealth or one of its political subdivisions; which constitute educational services required to be provided by a school committee pursuant to section 5 of chapter 71B; or which constitute services provided by the department of mental health.

For the purposes of this section, “licensed mental health professional” shall mean a licensed physician who specializes in the practice of psychiatry, a licensed psychologist, a licensed independent clinical social worker, a licensed mental health counselor, a licensed nurse mental health clinical specialist or a licensed marriage and family therapist within the lawful scope of practice for such therapist.

For the purposes of this section, psychopharmacological services and neuropsychological assessment services shall be treated as a medical benefit and shall be covered in a manner identical to all other medical services.