In Zone 2 (United States) one of the major developments for all of medicine has been health care reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (PPACA), became law in November 2010, if and when fully implemented, will significantly change the health care delivery system in the United States.
The number of un-insured will be greatly reduced, care will be better coordinated with the development of “medical homes”, there will be an increase in the use of electronic health records (EHR) and an attempt will be made to reward treatment that results in good outcomes. There has been great controversy about this new law and there are challenges to its constitutionality. It is anticipated that the constitutional issue will be decided by the Supreme Court in mid 2012. The treatment of mental illness will be better supported and reimbursed under this new law.
Another major development in the treatment of mental illnesses is an increase in programs that integrate treatment of mental illnesses and physical illnesses. Integrated care is the APA Presidential theme for this year and will be a major focus of APA annual meeting in Philadelphia in May 2012.
The work on DSM 5 continues and has involved a large number of psychiatrists internationally. The target date for publication is May 2013.