Sen. Smith introduces bill to improve mental health coverage.

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(ABC 6 News) – U. S Senator Tina Smith introduced a bill on Tuesday to improve mental health coverage.

The bill will help crack down on inaccurate healthcare provider listings or “Ghost networks” and create stronger enforcement standards to protect those seeking mental health care.

Health insurance plans are required to cover mental health care just like they cover physical health care, but Senator Smith says recent data shows only 25 percent of the providers listed in the insurance companies’ directory were accepting patients.

“So that’s not a health care network at all for mental health care and that’s what my bill cracks down on. It requires insurance companies to offer a real network of mental health care providers, not these ghost networks, and then it gives the federal government real teeth to hold companies accountable that are not living up to what the law requires of them,” said Sen. Tina Smith.

Smith acknowledges that there is still a shortage of mental health care providers and there is still work that needs to be done to get more people to provide this care.