Bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act Reintroduced in Congress

By Joel Miller posted 02-01-2019 14:32

  
Bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act Reintroduced in Congress:  Measure Would Allow Mental Health Counselors to Bill Medicare for Treating Seniors

On January 31st, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 286) was re-introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI), that will 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 in the new Congressional session.  Please see a press release below about the announcement on the re-introduction of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act.  Rep. Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Katko (NY-24) also announced they have reintroduced the bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act in the House (no bill number has been assigned yet).

We encourage you to contact two Senators and your Congressional Member in the House of Representatives, to express your support for the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. Please mention Senate Bill 286 in your communications.

Use the links below to find your Members of Congress
Senate: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact

House of Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative


Main Talking Points for AMHCA Advocates
There are four main talking points for advocates to share on emails, social media, and in 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 email communications and calls to Congressional offices.  

  • Studies show that 730 thousand Seniors on Medicare are at risk for opioid addiction.
  • Unfortunately, though, there’s a shortage of mental health and substance abuse providers in the Medicare system to help these seniors at risk.
  • As the baby boomer population ages, the 166,000 licensed mental health counselors across the country are specifically trained to address substance abuse. 
  • The 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. 
  • MEDICARE PATIENTS SUFFER FROM INADEQUATE ACCESS TO CARE: Medicare beneficiaries are often at the highest risk for mental health problems, such as depression and suicide, yet older Americans are the least likely to receive mental health services, with only 1 in 5 receiving needed care. Many Medicare beneficiaries have no access to a mental health professional.
  • Mental health counselors around the nation are ready to address the needs of Medicare beneficiaries suffering from mental illness.
For more information or questions, please contact Joel E. Miller, at jmiller@amhca.org or at 703-548-6002.

Click below to see the Press Release on Senator Barraso's website:
https://www.barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news-releases?ID=9F133F4E-7A37-4FC6-92EF-F6C696D27AA4
#Advocacy
#Medicare
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02-13-2019 15:41

Here are a few sample communication tools for members to use when writing or speaking to their members of Congress: http://www.amhca.org/viewdocument/sample-communications-in-support-of?CommunityKey=88ff9fb7-8724-4717-8a7c-4cf1cd0305e9