Issue 13: Physical Health Care

Goal: Alaskans with psychiatric illness will have access to adequate physical health care.


Accessible, affordable and comprehensive health care often eludes people with psychiatric disorders. Several factors account for this deficit. Many people with mental illnesses are unable to secure health insurance. People with psychiatric disorders are often low income and must rely on Medicaid, a system that often focuses on acute care, rather than on care for the chronic conditions they frequently experience. The side effects of medications used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders can increase the individual's health care needs.


256. Maintain restoration of Medicaid funding for vision, hearing, acute dental care and physical therapy services for adults with psychiatric disorders.

257. Enact legislation limiting preexisting-condition exclusions and improving portability and renewability of private insurance coverage.
Responsible party (actions 1-2): Alaska State Legislature

258. Provide training to enable people experiencing mental illness to become more informed consumers of health care services.
Responsible party: Advocacy groups

259. Ensure that public managed care initiatives integrate physical and mental health services and require collaboration between physical and mental health care providers.
Responsible party: Alaska Mental Health Board, Department of Health and Social Services

260. Develop legislation which provides for mental health parity in private insurance.
Responsible party: Alaska Mental Health Board, Building Bridges Campaign, advocacy groups

261. Advocate for state Medicaid changes to allow people with psychiatric disabilities to retain Medicaid coverage when they find low wage employment.
Responsible party: Disability Law Center, Alaska Mental Health Board