There seems to be a pharmaceutical remedy for every problem, and they get lots of air time on prime time TV. But many consumers are rightfully wary of such widespread prescriptive solutions and behavioral therapists can sometimes offer them an inexpensive alternative.
Along those lines, the study on migraines released this week should get some media attention. It concluded that behavioral interventions are a cost-effective way to treat the problem because the benefits last indefinitely.
Researchers compared the cost of drug treatment — the assumption was 50 cents per day — to short term behavioral intervention in which the patient sees the therapist a few times and then practices treatment techniques at home.
After six months, the costs were about equal but after one year, the behavioral intervention was $500 cheaper.
“People think behavioral treatment costs a lot,” says Timothy Houle, associate professor of anesthesiology and neurology from Wake Forest University who led the research project. “Now with this study, we know that the costs are actually comparable, if not cheaper, in the long run.”
The interventions included hypnosis, relaxation training, and biofeedback.
“The cost of behavioral treatment is front-loaded,” explained the study’s co-author, Donald Penzien, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “You go to a number of treatment sessions but then that’s it. And the benefits last for years.”
The research was published in the June issue of the journal, Headache.
Magellan Health Services is recruiting therapists to service a large California contract that launches on January 1, 2012. The company is managing behavioral health and EAP benefits for 1.9 million members of Blue Shield of California.
You can apply to the network in one of two ways: Contact Magellan to get a provider application form, which can be requested at (800)430-0535 #4; or by emailing a request to CaliforniaProvider@Magellanhealth.com.
Applicants can also apply through the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) website by authorizing Magellan to access their Universal Credentialing Data Source information.
For those unsure of how that works, the site contains a tutorial on the application process.
WellPoint has been socked with a $100,000 fine by the Indiana attorney general for failing to alert 32,000 members promptly of a security breach that could have compromised their healthcare records and other personal information. The company also agreed to offer two years of credit monitoring and pay $50,000 for losses connected to each breach-related incident.
The breach occurred in February and March of 2010 but the company failed to notify consumers of the problem until June. WellPoint also made changes to its security system to prevent similar breaches in the future.
- John Nelander, Contributing Editor