Wit Versus UBH/Optum: A Landmark Verdict in the Struggle to Provide Mental Health Coverage to Patients in Need

Austen Riggs Center

25 Main St
StockbridgeMassachusetts 01262
April 5, 2019 at 6:30 PM

Friday Night Guest Lecture

Eric M. Plakun, MD, is the medical director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center, where he is a member of the Senior Leadership Group and the Erikson Institute Management Group. A board certified psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, and forensic psychiatrist. Dr. Plakun is the editor of New Perspectives on Narcissism (American Psychiatric Press, 1990) and Treatment Resistance and Patient Authority: The Austen Riggs Reader (Norton Professional Books, 2011), and author of close to fifty articles and book chapters on the diagnosis, treatment, longitudinal course and outcome of patients with borderline personality disorder and treatment resistant disorders. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and serves on the APA Board of Trustees representing New England and Eastern Canada. He is a former member of the APA Assembly, where he served as chair of the Assembly Committee of Representatives of Subspecialties and Sections and on the Assembly Executive Committee. In the APA he has also been past chair of the Committee on Psychotherapy by Psychiatrists, and the founding leader of the APA Psychotherapy Caucus. Dr. Plakun is a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists, and a Fellow of the American College of Psychoanalysts. He is a Psychoanalytic Fellow and former Trustee of the American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Dr. Plakun also served for more than a decade with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology as a member of the written test committee and as an oral examiner. In 2003 Dr. Plakun was selected by the 1700-member Massachusetts Psychiatric Society as the “Outstanding Psychiatrist in Clinical Psychiatry.”

Dr. Plakun graduated from Hofstra University and received an MD from the Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons. After an internship in medicine at Dartmouth, Dr. Plakun worked as a rural general practitioner in Vermont before completing a psychiatry residency at Dartmouth and a Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Studies at Riggs.

Presentation Description

This presentation will offer an overview of this significant class action from the Ninth District in California, offered by one of the experts asked by the plaintiffs to examine UBH/Optum level of care criteria and testify in court about how well they match generally accepted standards of care. Assuming the verdict in favor of the plaintiffs is sustained, it will have important implications for access to outpatient, intensive outpatient and residential care. Although this a case based on the fiduciary responsibility of UBH/Optum to its subscribers, the verdict represents a step toward “bottom up” implementation of the mental health parity law of 2008.

This presentation is designed for mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers, with no regular registration fee. View the entire schedule for the 2018-19 Friday Night Guest Lecture Series.


This program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at 244 CMR 5.00 for 1.0 contact hours.

The Austen Riggs Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category1 Credit(s) ™

The Austen Riggs Center also designates this live activity for 1.00 continuing education credit(s) (CE) for psychology and social work.

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 02/02/2017-02/02/2020. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 1.0 continuing education clock hours. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.

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

Complete Continuing Education Statement

No registration required. For more information contact Kathleen Young at 413.931.5230. 

In the event of a cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, a notice will be posted here no later than 3:00 p.m. on the day of the event.