Wit v. United Behavioral Health: How This Landmark Verdict Puts Mental Disorder Access to Care Standards Back In Your Hands

Austen Riggs Center

25 Main St
StockbridgeMassachusetts 01262
January 12, 2021 at 5:00 PM

NOTE: This is a VIRTUAL event and requires advance registration.   

Time: 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. (Eastern)  

Register now for an Austen Riggs Center event.

Description: In November 2020, a federal magistrate judge issued a stinging rebuke to the United Behavioral Health division of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest behavioral health insurer, saying it could no longer use its overly restrictive guidelines to deny mental health and substance use treatment and compelled them to reprocess over 50,000 claims. In this webinar, three experts with intimate knowledge of the case, Meiram BendatJoe Parks, and Eric Plakun, will discuss how the ruling curbs the power of insurance companies to decide what standards of care are appropriate, and provide insights on how caregivers can use the verdict to advance access to care for their patients. This presentation is geared toward all behavioral health service providers, as well as members of the general public seeking better access to mental health services.  

CE/CME credits are available. Those wishing to receive CE/CME must register via the link below. Viewing via Facebook livestream does not qualify for credit. 


Meiram Bendat, JD, PhD, served as co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Wit v. UBH. He played a critical role in uncovering the UBH guideline flaws and assembling the cutting-edge litigation team that led to plaintiffs’ victory at trial. Bendat is an attorney licensed by the State Bar of California as well as a psychotherapist licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. He is the founder of Psych-Appeal, the first private law firm in the United States exclusively dedicated to mental health insurance advocacy on behalf of patients and providers. 

Joe Parks, MD, co-authored with Paul Appelbaum, MD, an authoritative overview of Wit, including eight principles of accepted standards of care. Parks currently serves as the medical director for The National Council for Behavioral Health and is a Distinguished Research Professor of Science at Missouri Institute of Mental Health with the University of Missouri, St. Louis.  

Eric Plakun, MD, served as plaintiffs’ expert in Wit v. UBH. Plakun, who is a board-certified psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, and forensic psychiatrist, serves as the medical director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center. He is the founder and past leader of the American Psychiatric Association Psychotherapy Caucus and serves on the APA Board of Trustees representing New England and Eastern Canada. 

For questions or additional information, please contact Erikson Institute Education Coordinator and Events Assistant, Kathleen Young at: kathleen.young@austenriggs.net / 413.931.5230.    

Register now for an Austen Riggs Center event.



  1. Understand the basis of the verdict in Wit v United Behavioral Health
  2. List 8 elements of generally accepted standards of effective treatment of mental and substance use disorders that were defined in the verdict   
  3. Improve ability to appeal denials of medically necessary care



Approved for: Physicians, Psychologists, Social Work

Pending for: Nursing, LMHC

The Austen Riggs Center designates this live interactive webinar for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category1 Credit(s) ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.    

The Austen Riggs Center is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.   

The Austen Riggs Center also designates this live interactive webinar for 1.0 continuing education credit(s) (CE) for psychology.   

This live activity is approved for up to 1.0 hour(s) of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™, risk management study. 

The Austen Riggs Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program and its content. For additional information about this program, please call the Erikson Institute Education Coordinator, at 413.931.5230.   

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider Approval Period: 02/02/2020-2/2/2023. Social workers completing this live interactive webinar will receive 1.0 continuing education credit(s).    

For a listing of jurisdictions that accept ACE, please visit www.aswb.org/ace/ace-jurisdiction-map/.   

This live interactive webinar program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at 244 CMR 5.00 for (1) contact hour(s).     

This live interactive webinar meets the requirements of the MaMHCA, authorization # TBD for 1.0 category 1 continuing education credit(s).   

The Austen Riggs Center follows all state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In accordance with the ADA, the Austen Riggs Center is committed to accessibility. If you need accommodations for your course, please contact info@austenriggs.net.  

For information about our accreditation, please visit: www.austenriggs.org/accreditation-educational-activities.  

Attendees who wish to receive CE credit should note:     

After the conclusion of the event, you will receive an email with a link to complete the evaluation and claim your credits.  

1.5 Hours