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Reports faults access to mental health care in Massachusetts

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BOSTON (AP) — Despite increases in the number of Massachusetts residents covered by health insurance, barriers to mental health care remain — including low insurance reimbursement rates and clinicians who increasingly rely on clients paying out of pocket.

That's according to a report released Wednesday by the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts.

The report found many clinicians are intentionally taking on more private pay clients and one in six don't accept insurance at all. More than 80 percent say they turn away at least one patient each month.

Eric Linzer of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans said insurers take seriously their obligation to make available extensive networks of providers to meet the behavioral health and substance abuse needs of patients.

The report was commissioned by SEIU Local 509, which represents behavioral health clinicians.

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