American Psychological Association / Division of Psychologists in Public Service
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; 2010) is expected to increase access to mental health care through provisions aimed at increasing health coverage among the nation’s uninsured, including 10.2 million eligible Latino adults. The ACA will increase health coverage by expanding Medicaid eligibility to individuals living below 138% of the federal poverty level, subsidizing the purchase of private insurance among individuals not eligible for Medicaid, and requiring employers with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance. An anticipated result of this landmark legislation is improvement in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders in racial/ethnic minorities, particularly for Latinos, who traditionally have had less access to these services. However, these efforts alone may not sufficiently ameliorate mental health care disparities for Latinos. Faith-based organizations (FBOs) could play an integral role in the mental health care of Latinos by increasing help seeking, providing religion-based mental health services, and delivering supportive services that address common access barriers among Latinos. Thus, in determining ways to eliminate Latino mental health care disparities under the ACA, examining pathways into care through the faith-based sector offers unique opportunities to address some of the cultural barriers confronted by this population. We examine how partnerships between FBOs and primary care patient-centered health homes may help reduce the gap of unmet mental health needs among Latinos in this era of health reform. We also describe the challenges FBOs and primary care providers need to overcome to be partners in integrated care efforts.
Villatoro, A. P., Dixon, E., & Mays, V. M. (2016). Faith-based organizations and the Affordable Care Act: Reducing Latino mental health care disparities. Psychological Services, 13(1), 92–104. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038515