Medicare

Find Your Member of Congress

We encourage you to contact your two Senators and your Congressional Member in the House of Representatives, to express your support for the Mental Health Access Improvement Act.  Please use the bill numbers in all your communications.

FIND YOUR SENATOR


FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE


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Mental Health Access Improvement Act

On January 31st, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 286) was re-introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI), and the same bill -- H.R. 945 -- was reintroduced and sponsored again by Representative Thompson (D-CA) and Representative Katko (R-NY) in the House.  The bills, if passed, would allow mental health counselors to bill Medicare for treating older adults with mental health conditions. AMHCA was instrumental in accelerating the early introduction of S. 286 and H.R. 945 in the new Congressional session. 

On August 4, 2019, three U.S. Senators -- Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to all Senators encouraging their fellow Senators to  significantly modernize, strengthen and add benefits to the traditional Medicare Program.  They have described their rationale in their communication and a key legislative piece -- S. 286, the Medicare Mental Health Access Improvement Act -- is one of the bills they are requesting the Senate pass so the Medicare program continues to provide value to current and future enrollees.  Senator Stabenow is the co-sponsor of S. 286 with John Barrasso (R-WY).  

Sample Communications

Communication to Senators S. 286

Letter #1

Letter #2

Letter #3

Sample Communications

Communication to Representatives HR. 945

Letter #1

Letter #2

Letter #3

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Help Us Advocate for You

Help keep our advocacy efforts strong by donating to AMHCA. Your donation goes a long way in helping us maximize our efforts as well as sustaining and improving our array of member benefits. Donate now and join our causeto enhance the profession of clinical mental health counseling through advocacy, education and collaboration.


Seniors Need Mental Health Counselors

Talking Points

There are four main talking points for advocates to share on social media and in their phone calls. While the issue can be very complex, the talking points are designed to be clear statements in order to allow you, your colleagues and your network to feel comfortable showing your support for this legislation during your calls to Congressional offices.

  • Studies show that 730 thousand Seniors on Medicare are at risk for opioid addiction.
  • The incidence of alcohol abuse among the elderly has doubled.
  • Unfortunately though, there’s a shortage of mental health and substance abuse providers in the Medicare system to help these seniors at risk.
  • The Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act would expand the availability of cost-effective providers under Medicare to help treat these Seniors and address the opioid epidemic.

Resources

In July AMHCA sponsored a Capitol Hill Briefing entitled "Access to Mental Health Care in Rural America: A Crisis in the Making for Seniors and People with Disabilities." The covered mental health professionals recognized by Medicare presently include psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health clinical nurse specialists, and clinical social workers. Mental health counselors are not listed as Medicare-covered providers despite the fact that licensed mental health counselors have education, training, and practice rights equivalent to or greater than existing covered providers.

Overview of the Problem

Targeting High Cost/High Need Utilizers in Medicare

Consequences of Untreated Older Adults

Substance Use Among the Elderly

Health-Related Challenges Facing Rural America