Major Federal Committee Endorses Medicare Recognition of CMHC’s

By Joel Miller posted 12-15-2017 10:56


The Federal Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) recommended today that exclusions should be removed that disallow payment to mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists within Medicare and other federal health benefit programs.


AMHCA initiated discussions with members of the ISMICC this fall – since the formation of the ISMICC – to seek the committee’s support for including mental health counselors in the Medicare program.  Those efforts have paid off with a specific recommendation in the initial report, that the Coordinating Committee was mandated to issue at this time.


AMHCA will now utilize the ISMICC recommendation in our meetings with Members of Congress as part of our overall efforts to pass S.1879 and H.R. 3032 -- our Medicare Provider Recognition bills. 


The ISMICC was established with the following charge:


  • Report on advances in treatment, recovery and prevention.
  • Provide rigorous assessment that is candid and sober.
  • Make specific recommendations on policy reform.


The formation of this group has sent clear signals that mental health is a priority of the federal government and our health care system.


The work of the ISMICC is just beginning. This 2017 ISMICC Report to Congress includes information presented in the first ISMICC meeting in 2017 and from ongoing dialogue with the ISMICC members. This report will set the stage for work by the ISMICC over the next few years. The ISMICC is chaired by Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.


The initial report – “The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living With SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers” – can be found at:

Federal agency representation on the ISMICC includes:

  • Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Attorney General, Department of Justice
  • Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Secretary of the Department of Defense