Step Therapy: Blocking Mental Illness Patients' Access to Medication

From the Show: Health Radio
Summary: What effect does step therapy have on the treatment of people with mental illnesses?
Air Date: 7/27/15
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Mark J. Heyrman, Clinical Professor of Law
Heyrman MarkMark J. Heyrman is a Clinical Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Heyrman teaches courses in Trial Practice, Mental Health Advocacy and Mental Health Law.

His principle responsibility is to teach law students to be effective advocates through their supervised litigation on behalf of indigent clients with mental illnesses and legislative advocacy on behalf of mental health organizations.

Mr. Heyrman is a member and former chair of the Public Policy Committee of Mental Health America. He is a Board member and past president of the Mental Health America of Illinois and chairs its public policy committee. He helped found and is the facilitator of the Mental Health Summit, a coalition of mental health service providers and advocates for persons with mental illness.

He is a member of the Illinois Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council and past co-chairperson and also a member and former chair of the Section on Mental Health Law of the Illinois State Bar Association. In 1988 he served as Executive Director of the Governor's Commission to Revise the Mental Health Code of Illinois.
Step Therapy: Blocking Mental Illness Patients' Access to Medication
Step therapy requires patients to try medications in a certain order, forcing them to try cheaper medications before being able to "step up" to the more expensive prescription drugs.

Unfortunately, this way of approaching treatment can actually prolong a patient's path to better health.

When a person with a mental illness is not prescribed the proper medications for their condition, it could have traumatic results.

No one should be required to take medicine a doctor believes will not work before being allowed to take medicine that will work.

What is being done to prevent step therapy from interfering with the treatment of people with mental illnesses?

Mark J. Heyrman joins Melanie Cole, MS, to discuss what step therapy is and how it can be damaging to those people suffering with a mental illness.
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