Readers react: What will it take to improve mental health care in Mass.?

I wrote in today’s Globe about a chain of for-profit mental health clinics in Massachusetts that repeatedly have been cited for allowing unlicensed or unsupervised counselors to treat patients. The clinics are operated by Arbour Health System, part of Universal Health Services, which owns acute care hospitals and behavioral health facilities around the country.

Three clinics that serve large numbers of low-income people were cited by the state last year for allowing dozens of therapists to treat patients despite the employees lacking the required licenses or oversight from a professional.

Several readers have commented on the role of for-profit companies in mental health care and, more broadly, the generally low payments for mental health services.


“Djm71’’ writes: “For profit health care is folly. It is particularly a folly with regards to mental health care. Unravelling this system has nothing to do with fixing faulty record keeping. The issue of supervision would be nullified by putting trained, experienced, and fairly paid people on the job. All of that takes a restructuring of the core structure of money flowing into mental health care.’’

One reader argued that professional organizations should push for better licensure of caregivers. “Venerable-Boston-Bede’’ asked why the state Medicaid program didn’t do more to regulate the clinics, saying it would help. “We can have as good mental health care as we have cancer treatment.’’

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