Bennett, Wyden introduce legislation to increase access to mental and behavioral health care for children, seniors, and low-income release

washington dc — Today Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, will expand access to mental illness. introduced better mental health care laws for Americans. Behavioral health for Americans with Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and Medicaid.

“We are experiencing a massive mental health crisis across America and urgent action is needed to improve access to mental and behavioral health care. Bennett said. “My Better Mental Health Care for America Act does just that. It helps seniors, families and children across America get the mental and behavioral health care they need, wherever they need it. It helps us to receive

“Mental health care should be affordable, reliable and accessible to all.” Weiden said. “For too long, mental health care has taken a back seat to physical health in the United States. This law will help Oregonians and those struggling with mental health across the country get the care they need, when they need it. I will continue to fight to achieve equality for all.”

Nearly one in five American adults suffers from a mental illness. One in four of her older adults reported experiencing anxiety or depression. More than four of her ten high school students felt persistently sad or hopeless. Less than half of all Medicare beneficiaries receive treatment, even though about a quarter of them have a mental illness.

2008 Mental Health Equality and Addiction Equality Act Extending mental and physical health care equivalence to private and employer-provided plans, plans provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were not covered by this requirement. This will prevent the 60 million seniors covered by Medicare and many of her 90 million people in Medicaid and children’s health insurance programs from benefiting from the parity requirement. . The Better Mental Health Care for Americans Act addresses this gap and removes unnecessary obstacles to low-income children and older adults accessing the mental health care they need.

Specifically, the Better Mental Health Care for Americans Act will:

  • Demand equality for mental and behavioral health services in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and Medicaid.
  • Make sure your Medicare Advantage Plan maintains an accurate and updated provider directory so your beneficiaries understand who’s in your network.
  • Promote the integration of mental and behavioral health and physical care by increasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.
  • Establish demonstration projects to increase access to integrated mental and behavioral health care in a variety of settings, such as schools.
  • Strengthen accountability and oversight of integrated mental and behavioral health care under Medicare, Medicaid, and private health plans.and
  • Require CMS to better coordinate payments, measure access and quality, and develop and implement plans to improve preventive services in mental and behavioral health care.

“On behalf of all Coloradoans affected by mental health conditions, Nami, Colorado, would like to thank Senator Bennett for his commitment to improving our mental health and substance use systems. .” Ray Merenstein, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Colorado, said: “Every day we hear from individuals and families who are struggling to get the help they need. Help Colorados, save lives.”

“We commend Senator Bennett for introducing legislation that prioritizes integrated mental health care services for children and youth. Since declaring a state of emergency, we have seen unprecedented numbers of children with mental health crises seeking care in emergency rooms and outpatient and inpatient services. It’s time to act, and we thank lawmakers who are making progress toward a solution. I welcome the focus on sexual enhancement, and it is imperative that members of Congress adopt bold policies that can begin to fix the mental health system for children here in Colorado and across the country. We strongly support models of care that encourage comprehensive and coordinated care for the prevention, early detection and treatment of mental health and substance use conditions in the diverse settings in which children and young people are served. To do.” Sandra Fritsch, M.D., medical director of the Children’s Mental Health Institute at Children’s Hospital of Colorado, said:

“Mental Health America,” said Senators Bennett and Wyden, has challenged a fragmented and ineffective health care system by incentivizing integrated primary care, demanding accurate provider lists, and expanding equal protections. We applaud the comprehensive bill to transform the mental health system.” Mental Health America President and CEO Schroeder Stribling said: “These provisions make impactful changes to address the ongoing mental health and substance use crisis.”

“Primary physicians play an important role in identifying mental health conditions, reducing the stigma of mental illness, and helping patients treat their behavioral health needs, including those of children and adolescents. Physicians face barriers to receiving full reimbursement for providing mental health services, and this hinders their ability to integrate behavioral health care into their practice and treat patients. Family medicine emphasizes the link between physical and mental health, and without a primary care physician, many patients experiencing mental illness may not get treatment. The AAFP is pleased to support better mental health care laws for Americans that will ensure equitable access to mental health care for our patients.” Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians said:

“Everyone is entitled to equitable and comprehensive substance use disorder and mental health care, but the majority of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries do not get that care. and Senator Wyden’s Better Mental Health Care for Americans Act to ensure non-discriminatory coverage in Medicare Advantage and all Medicaid plans through enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Dependency Equity Act Adopting the bill’s provisions on greater transparency in health care provider networks and the integration of behavioral health care into health care settings will help consumers have access to more care where and when they need it most. As Americans continue to die from overdoses in unprecedented numbers, and death rates are rising in black and other communities of color, this bill will help prevent the spread of untreated substances. It will help 94% of people with use disorders.” Ellen Weber, Senior Vice President, Health Initiatives, Legal Action Center, said:

“Our country is in a mental health and substance use crisis. To address this crisis, Senators Bennett and Wyden have strengthened mental health and substance use services in Medicare and Medicaid in the Mental Health Care Act. We need strong reforms to Hannah Wesolowski, Chief Advocacy Officer at NAMI National, said: “Nami is grateful to Senator Bennett for his tireless efforts to improve mental health in our country.”

“No American should be excluded from equal protections for mental health and addiction or subject to exemptions that put the economic interests of health insurance ahead of the well-being of the patient.” Former US Congressman Patrick Kennedy, co-lead author of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and founder of the Kennedy Forum, said: “Better Mental Health Care Act for Americans is an important step in delivering on the promise of equality and addressing the ongoing mental health and addiction crisis in our country.”

“Senators Bennett and Wyden have played a key role in trying to resolve our decades of fragmented, fragmented and disjointed approaches to mental health and substance abuse. It is a much-needed addition to the work being done for mental health.From financially encouraging the integration of mental health in critical places like primary care, to increasing the number of payers on the quality of care. As far as ensuring coordination, this tackles several issues at once: the law has created countless new and exciting access points in need beyond traditional approaches to mental health. In addition, the law seeks to address mental health discrimination in health coverage that is common in certain programs like Medicare Advantage. Fewer families are denied the care they deserve in the United States, which means Senate leaders are willing to commit to doing more to transform mental health in this country. It’s just another sign that there is.” Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, former chairman of the Well Being Trust and adjunct professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, said:

Bennett is a leading speaker in Congress calling for bipartisan action on the ongoing mental and behavioral health crisis in the United States. published a discussion draft to improve equality in social and physical health. In November, Bennett introduced the Mental and Physical Health Care Comorbidity Act to support the overall health of patients with both mental and physical health conditions. In 2021, Bennett unveiled “America’s Mental Bold Vision for Her Wellbeing.” This is a white paper to work with Sen. John Cornyn (Republican, Texas) to build a bipartisan consensus on redesigning the U.S. mental health care system and reassessing federal funding for this effort. .

In December 2022, Congress joined Cornyn to pass Bennet’s Suicide and Crisis Outreach Prevention Enhancement Act. This will improve the 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline and increase awareness of Lifeline through its outreach campaigns and the capacity of Lifeline and Crisis Centers. In June 2022, Bennett secured her $150 million for the installation of her 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Bipartisan Safer Communities ActIn December 2019, Bennett co-sponsored the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. This allows him to designate 9-8-8 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, allowing states the flexibility to strengthen local emergency call centers. In October 2020, the bill was signed into law.

The legislation is supported by NAMI Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Mental Health America, American Academy of Family Physicians, Legal Action Center, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Kennedy Forum, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and NETWORK Lobby for Catholics. I’m here. Social Justice, Youth in Recovery, Colorado Hospital Association, Colorado Mental Health, United Methodist Church, Partnership to End Addiction, Coalition for Human Needs, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.

The text of the bill is available here. An overview is available here.

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