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


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Instructor: Abstract:

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.  


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. 

Format: Videocast and Audio Podcast

Continuing Education Credits Authorized: 1

Learning Objectives

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

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