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The “Ghosts’ of Mental Healthcare: Democratic Staff of the Senate Finance Committee Release Report Concerning Medicare Advantage Plans
Episode 814th August 2023 • Complications: Health Policy Unraveled • McGuireWoods Consulting
00:00:00 00:03:50

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“More than 80% of the listed in-network mental health providers [that] staff tried to contact were ‘ghosts’ as they were either unreachable, not accepting new patients, or not a network.”

In this episode of Complications: Health Policy Unraveled, host Stephanie Kennan discusses “ghost networks” and Medicare Advantage plans. Based on a recent Senate Finance Committee study, Medicare Advantage provider directories are littered with inaccurate or unreachable listings for mental health services. Stephanie discusses the Committee’s recent recommendations on how to rectify “haunted” provider lists.

Meet Your Host

Name: Stephanie Kennan 

Title: Senior Vice President, Federal Public Affairs at McGuireWoods Consulting

Specialty: Stephanie Kennan helps clients navigate the legislative and executive branches of federal government to solve problems involving a variety of healthcare policy issues. Her work focuses on providers, medical device manufacturers, drug manufacturers and associations concerned about Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

Connect: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

[0:41] An explanation of “Ghost Networks”. 

[1:04] Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance conducted a “secret shopper” study to determine how pervasive mental health provider ghost networks are in the Medicare Advantage Program. 

[1:15] Study Results.

[2:18] The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require Medicare Advantage plans to keep their provider lists up to date, but without an audit, inaccuracies might go unnoticed.

[2:35] Democratic Staff Report Recommendations.


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