The United Parkinson’s Advocacy Council sent a letter – at the urging of AMHCA -- to Congressional leaders in support of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (H.R. 945 and S. 286), that would allow clinical mental health counselors to be reimbursed for treating Medicare beneficiaries. As a follow up to that initiative, AMHCA has been working closely with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research – a major patient advocacy group -- on policy activities related to Medicare reimbursement for the profession. We are hopeful that such support will increase broader support of our Medicare bill in upcoming COVID-19-related economic stimulus packages that Congress will consider this year.
On May 27th, AMHCA, NBCC, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research co-sponsored a unique Capitol Hill legislative briefing titled “Improving Mental Health Access: Why Parkinson’s Patients Need Access to Mental Health Care.” Joel Miller spoke at the briefing on the need to pass the Mental Health Access Improvement Act this year. The bill would allow clinical mental health counselors to receive reimbursement for treating Medicare beneficiaries. Miller said that severe shortages of mental health professionals in rural areas and the ongoing opioid crisis -- on top of the COVID-19 pandemic -- disproportionally affect patients with Parkinson’s disease as 90 percent of such patients are covered by Medicare. But they cannot access needed services as skilled mental health therapists – mental health counselors -- are sidelined due to antiquated Medicare policy.
To view the entire briefing, click below: