Advocacy

The United Parkinson's Advocacy Council Supports the Mental Health Access Improvement Act

The United Parkinson's Advocacy Council has sent a letter (attached) 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.  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-related economic stimulus packages that Congress will consider this year.

Read the Letter

Act Today to Include Counselors in Medicare

Urgent Need for Grassroots this weekend to Include Counselors in Medicare

May 8, 2020

The House is developing its next COVID-19 relief package and counselors are urged to contact your Representative in support of including our Medicare legislation (H.R. 945) in it. Congress will be working through the weekend to decide what is going into the House legislation so time is of the essence.

As previously reported, AMHCA is working closely with our allied organizations from counseling, MFT, and behavioral health clinics to add our language to this upcoming COVID bill. Our sponsors, Representatives Thompson (D-CA) and Katko (R-NY), are fighting hard for inclusion, but we need grassroots advocacy to support the effort.

It is imperative that U.S. Representatives hear from counselor constituents about the importance of H.R. 945. We urge you to contact your Representative today and ask them to include our Medicare bill in the stimulus package.

Contact your Representative today! Use the link below to find your Representative with email and phone numbers:

Find my Representative

Sample message for call or email [please fill in bracketed sections]:

I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge Representative [___] to include H.R. 945 in the COVID-19 relief bill currently under development. This legislation authorizes licensed mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a behavioral health crisis and there are not enough mental health professionals to meet the needs of the Medicare population. I urge Rep. [____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by including H.R. 945 in the COVID-19 relief bill. Thank you for your consideration.




On April 21, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a report recommending mental health counselors be added to the list of Medicare providers. The timing couldn't be better as AMHCA ramps up efforts to motivate counselors to contact your legislators in support of including our Medicare legislation (H.R. 945/S. 286) in future COVID-19 relief legislation.

The BPC is a well-respected bipartisan think tank comprised of former senior policymakers. The report, "Confronting Rural America's Health Care Crisis", was prepared by the Rural Health Task Force, led by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, M.D. The report provides bipartisan policy recommendations to stabilize and transform rural health infrastructure, promote the uptake of value-based and virtual care, and ensure access to local providers. Adding licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to the list of Medicare-covered providers was a key recommendation for ensuring an adequate rural health care workforce.

The BPC highlighted how the report's policy recommendations offer solutions to the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. This link parallels AMHCA's efforts to include our Medicare legislation in future COVID-19 stimulus legislation. AMHCA is working closely with our allied organizations from counseling, MFT, and behavioral health clinics to add our language to the next COVID bill. We have received some interest from congressional offices, but have much work to do.

To be successful, we need your help! It is imperative that U.S. Representatives and Senators hear from counselor constituents about the importance of H.R. 945 and S. 286. We urge you to contact your legislators today and ask them to include our Medicare bills in the next COVID-19 package.

Contact your Representative and Senator today! Use the links below to find your federal legislators with email and phone numbers:
Find my Representative

Find my Senator
 (top left corner)


Sample message for call or email [fill in bracketed section providing separate messages to Representative and Senators]:

I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge [Rep. ____ / Sen. ____] to include [H.R. 945/S. 286] in the next COVID-19 relief bill. This legislation authorizes licensed mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a behavioral health crisis and there are not enough mental health professionals to meet the needs of the Medicare population. I urge [Rep. ____ / Sen. ____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by including [H.R. 945/S. 286] in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Thank you for your consideration.

For Chapter Leaders

Letter to Governors
Many governors/state officials are asking qualified health, mental health, and related professionals to supplement their health care capacity on a temporary basis to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients including those that may need to be intubated.

We have prepared a communication that you can edit as you wish that informs your Governor that your members are ready to volunteer to address the needs of the citizens of your state during the COVID-19 crisis. Please use the communication to inform other officials as well such as the Director of State Health Departments and other key officials.

General Letter to Governors

Governor Addresses



Support for Fellow Professional Association Leaders
To express support for your fellow professional association leaders in your state, we have prepared a communication that you can send (edit as you wish) to those contacts, highlighting that your state chapter is ready to help address the professional association’s mental health needs of their members during this health care crisis, and offer general support.  If you wish, please use the links below that contain contact information at state hospital associations, state medical societies, state nurse associations, state mental health program directors, state associations of police officers, and state associations of firefighters. 

Fellow Professional Associations

https://www.healthguideusa.org/state_hospital_associations.htm

https://physiciansfoundation.org/medical-societies-and-associations/

https://www.nursingworld.org/membership/find-my-state/

https://www.nasmhpd.org/content/mental-health-links

https://www.nvfc.org/states/

http://www.napo.org/about/related-sites-organizations/

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"Clinical mental health counselors are always working for the betterment of mental health and well-being – and the total health of individuals and employ leadership, advocacy, and collaborative skills to promote systemic changes for improved public health.  Never have you been needed more. You are all a treasured American resource." Read Joel Miller's Message