University of South Florida

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences


USF CJMHSA TAC hosts training on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

Michele Merritt presents

President of New Futures Michele Merritt, JD, presents at the training.

The USF Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center (CJMHSA TAC) convened a training in Palm Coast, FL. The purpose of this engagement was to present to local community providers regarding the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), otherwise known as the federal parity law.

Abby Shockley, MPH, CPH, director of the center, was one of the facilitators of the training. Michele Merritt, JD, who serves as the president of New Futures, a New England-Based policy-oriented nonprofit, also facilitated the training.

The training served as a comprehensive primer for participants with the session summarizing various aspects of the law, including examples of ways to measure parity compliance, appeals processes, and identifying red flags in coverage limitations that may require notification to enforcement bodies. Participants gained insights into measuring parity compliance through examples of key indicators, such as analyzing quantitative data on utilization management practices, out-of-pocket costs, and coverage limitations for mental health services compared to medical/surgical services. The training provided participants with tools to identify and address parity violations effectively.

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The Mission of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) is to advance knowledge through interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service that improves the capacity of individuals, families, and diverse communities to promote productive, satisfying, healthy, and safe lives across the lifespan. CBCS envisions the college as a globally recognized leader that creates innovative solutions to complex conditions that affect the behavior and well-being of individuals, families, and diverse communities.