Senate Introduces Mental Health Counselors in Medicare Legislation

By Joel Miller posted 03-19-2021 16:08

  

Bipartisan legislation that would include licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs), as well as licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), as Medicare providers, has just been introduced in the United States Senate.

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021, S. 828, was introduced in the Senate by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Representative John Katko (R-NY) introduced the companion legislation (HR 432) in January in the House.

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 Senators Barrasso and Stabenow for their past and current support for this legislation and their efforts in advocating for LMHCs as Medicare providers.  Please read their news release for additional information on this legislation and powerful words of support by Sen. Barrasso and Sen. Stabenow.

Here is the link to the Press Release

https://www.barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news-releases?ID=3C15B175-5929-4976-97BC-503D823D93AE


This legislation is identical to bills introduced in the Senate (S. 286, now S. 828) in the last Congress, the 116th Congress (2019-2020).  Last year, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (HR 945 at that time, now HR 432) 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 the Medicare legislation.

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.  With a large number of cosponsors early in the new 117th Congress that began, it makes it more likely that the Senate and House of Representatives will take up this legislation in upcoming hearings.

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 (S. 828 and HR 432).

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


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