Congress Introduces Mental Health Counselors in Medicare Legislation

By Joel Miller posted 17 days ago

  

Bipartisan legislation that would include licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs), as well as licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), as Medicare providers, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021, HR 432, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Representative John Katko (R-NY).

This bipartisan legislation would require Medicare to finally recognize LMHCs as Medicare-eligible providers of covered behavioral health services to older adults and other Medicare beneficiaries.

AMHCA would like to thank Representatives Thompson and Katko for their past and current support for this legislation and their efforts in advocating for LMHCs as Medicare providers. Please read their press release on HR 432 for additional information on this legislation and powerful words of support for this legislation by Rep. Thompson and Rep. Katko.

This bill is identical to bills introduced in the House of Representatives (HR 945) and the Senate (S 286) in the last Congress, the 116th Congress (2019-2020). Last year, HR 945 passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any opposition. This prior bill had a total of 130 Members of Congress who cosponsored this bill, which is a record level of support for any LMHCs in Medicare bill.

The first step in moving this legislation through Congress is encouraging Members of Congress to cosponsor this bill. Although lobbyists for LMHCs and other associations who support this legislation will be urging Congresspersons to cosponsor this bill, it is absolutely essential that Members of Congress hear from you, as a constituent, that you support including LMHCs as Medicare providers. Having a large number of cosponsors early in the 117th Congress makes it more likely that the House of Representatives will take up this legislation. The introduction of this bill is the earliest that LMHCs in our Medicare bill has been introduced by a new Congress.

As most of you know, the Senate has just undergone a change in control from the Republicans to the Democrats and has been immersed in the impeachment trial. The Senate companion bill to HR 432 is expected to be introduced within the coming weeks.

AMHCA will send follow up communications to you with guidance on how to reach your member of Congress to contact those Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen with key messages in support of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


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4 days ago

I definitely supported and sent letters to last year regarding this bill and am very willing to do this again. Please keep this updates and let me know if there is anything we can do to help get this passed.