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Letter: Put care decisions into professional hands

A doctor draws medicine into a syringe during

A doctor draws medicine into a syringe during a kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Credit: Getty Images, 2012

The writer of "Insurance won't pay for addiction care" [Letters, March 25] highlights the single largest remaining obstacle in addressing the critical need for inpatient addiction treatment.

New York needs reform. For too long, dollar-driven insurers have denied sorely needed treatment to families who purchased insurance plans.

Denials for inpatient treatment are now the norm, and in those rare instances where treatment is authorized, the length of stay is often severely limited. These aborted episodes have led to countless avoidable deaths and a vicious cycle of short-term abstinence and relapse. Relapse could be reduced or avoided with appropriate resources.

This penny-wise, dollar-foolish approach continues to devastate families. Families across New York continue to battle with insurers that deny life-altering treatments, perpetuating overdoses, emergency room visits, criminal justice involvement and other economic costs.

New York must push for reform similar to our neighbors in Pennsylvania, which in 1989 enacted a law that gives control over determining client needs to addiction-treatment professionals. This common-sense approach would save both dollars and lives.

Richard Buckman, Dix Hills

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Long Island Recovery Association, a grassroots organization dealing with addiction.