BOSTON–Representative Christine Barber’s bill to require health plans to regularly update their provider directories was included in a bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives this week.
Speaker Robert DeLeo’s package related to children’s health and well-being included a policy initiative championed by Representative Barber (Somerville and Medford). “People seeking health care are often unable to find a provider that meets their needs because of outdated and unclear provider directories,” Rep. Barber explained. “This initiative will help people find the right health provider through better access to accurate information from their health plan.”
Health plans publish provider directories to help patients find care that meets their needs, but too often these are out of date and inaccurate. The problem of inaccurate provider directories is especially acute for children seeking behavioral health care.
The children’s health bill also included provisions to address children with medically complex needs, health coverage for children aging out of the foster care system, improving school-based health centers, and a program for regional behavioral health resource centers.
“I am thankful to everyone who worked on this issue, from my colleagues to community partners,” Rep. Barber said. “Making it easier for children and families to find care through accurate information, and supporting children’s health care reduce health disparities and delays in care and improve health outcomes—I am proud that the House took this step today.”