Federal bills Mental Health Colorado is following

We partner with Mental Health America to advocate for congressional bills on mental health and substance use. We contact U.S. Senators and Representatives, visit with their office, and follow rules written by national departments such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

H.R. 1364 – Parity Enforcement Act of 2021 introduced by Rep. Donald Norcross [D-NJ-1] provides authority for the Department of Labor to enforce the parity requirements for group health plans with respect to the coverage of mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

H.R. 1475 – Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman [D-NJ-12] establishes and expands programs to address racial and ethnic disparities in mental health.

H.R.1914 – CAHOOTS Act introduced by Rep. Peter A. DeFazio [D-OR-4] allows state Medicaid programs to cover certain community-based mobile crisis intervention services for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance-use disorder crisis outside of a facility setting. 

H.R. 2035 – Improving Access to Mental Health Act of 2021 introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee [D-Ca-13] increases the Medicare reimbursement rate for clinical social worker services. The bill excludes clinical social worker services from the prospective payment system in which predetermined amounts form the basis for payment under Medicare. Additionally, the bill alters the definition of clinical social worker services as it relates to Medicare. Under current law, such services (1) include services performed for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, and (2) exclude services furnished to an inpatient of a skilled nursing facility as a condition of the facility’s participation in the Medicare program. The bill repeals these provisions and instead specifies that such services include certain types of health behavior assessment and intervention.

H.R.2067 – MATE Act of 2021 introduced by Rep. Lori Trahan [D-MA-3] requires health care providers, as a condition of receiving or renewing a registration to prescribe potentially addictive drugs, to complete a one-time training on managing patients with substance use disorders. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services must award grants to health professional associations and education programs for integrating substance use disorder training into relevant curriculum. 

H.R.2767 – Peers Act of 2021 introduced by Rep. Judy Chu [D-CA-27] specifies that peer support specialists may participate in the provision of behavioral health integration services with the supervision of a physician or other entity under Medicare. The bill defines peer support specialists as individuals who are recovering from a mental health or substance-use condition and have certain national or state credentials, as specified, to provide peer support services. 

H.R.2929 – Virtual Peer Support Act of 2021 introduced by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto [D-NV] appropriates funding for grants to transition behavioral health peer support services that are provided at no cost to participants from in-person to virtual platforms or to otherwise expand these kinds of virtual services.

H.R.432 – Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021 introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson [D-CA-5] and Sen. John Barrasso [R-WY] provides for coverage of marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under Medicare. It also excludes such services from the skilled nursing facility prospective payment system and authorizes marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors to develop discharge plans for post-hospital services.

H.R.5469 – Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman [D-NJ-12] establishes and expands programs to address racial and ethnic disparities in mental health. Specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must award grants to establish interprofessional behavioral health care teams in areas with a high proportion of racial and ethnic minority groups. In addition, HHS may award grants to incorporate best practices and competencies to address mental health disparities in curricula for training social workers, psychologists, and other behavioral health professionals. HHS must also promote behavioral and mental health and reduce stigma associated with mental health conditions and substance use disorder through outreach to racial and ethnic minority groups. HHS must consult with appropriate advocacy groups and behavioral health organizations to develop a strategy for this outreach. The bill also (1) reauthorizes the minority fellowship program to support the education of mental health professionals who provide services to racial and ethnic minorities, and (2) requires studies on mental health disparities and the effects of social media use on adolescents.

H.R. 5611 – Behavioral Health Crisis Services Expansion Act introduced by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester [D-DE-At Large] establishes national standards for crisis care, and provides funding for the development of crisis services in communities across the country.

H.R.955 – Medicaid Reentry Act of 2021 introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko [D-NY-20] allows Medicaid payment for medical services furnished to an incarcerated individual during the 30-day period preceding the individual’s release. The Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Payment and Access Commission must report on specified information relating to the accessibility and quality of health care for incarcerated individuals, including the impact of the bill’s changes.

H.R. 7076 – Supporting Children’s Mental Health Care Access Act of 2022 introduced by Rep. Kim Schrier [D-WA-8] reauthorizes through FY2027 two grant programs that support pediatric mental and behavioral health services and interventions.

H.R.7116 – 988 Implementation Act of 2022 introduced by Rep. Tony Cárdenas [D-CA-29] modifies provisions to increase access to behavioral health services, with a focus on crisis services and the 9-8-8 telecommunication system. (The 9-8-8 system provides callers with mental health or suicide crisis support and resources through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and is scheduled to take effect by July 16, 2022.) The bill reauthorizes through FY2027 and revises the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline program and requires a national suicide prevention media campaign. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) must establish standards for a behavioral health crisis continuum of care that health care providers and communities may use in responding to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The continuum must include emergency treatment, stabilization, and related services. The bill expands Medicaid and other insurance coverage for such services. The bill further expands Medicaid coverage for behavioral health services. This includes permanently allowing coverage of certain community-based mobile crisis services and exempting some short-term stabilization services from coverage restrictions that apply to institutions for mental diseases. Additionally, the bill establishes (1) an office within SAMHSA to coordinate behavioral health activities; and (2) various grants, including a pilot program for mobile crisis care teams that respond to behavioral health crises rather than law enforcement and a capital improvement program for certain behavioral health facilities. The bill also reauthorizes through FY2027 and expands certain workforce programs for behavioral health providers. It also addresses training for emergency services dispatchers and coordination of the 9-1-1 system with the 9-8-8 system.

 

Legislation Followed in Previous Years

S.26612 – National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2019 introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) requires the Federal Communications Commission to designate 9–8–8 as the universal telephone number for a national suicide prevention and mental-health crisis hotline. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs must jointly report on how to make the use of 9–8–8 operational and effective across the country.

S.1895 – Lower Health Care Costs Act

H.R.8206 – Peers Act of 2020 introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA-27) clarifies the eligibility for participation of peer support specialists in the furnishing of behavioral health integration services under the Medicare program.

H.R. 2061/S. 1012 – Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and Sen. Joe Manchin (WV). H.R. 2062/ S. 1012 would align an old law with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to fully integrate substance use health information.

S. 1770 Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) from Trauma Act introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin (IL) and Shelley Moore Capito (WV). S. 1770 would prevent and mitigate childhood trauma’s impact on mental health.

H.R. 1109/S. 1122 – Mental Health Services for Students Act introduced by Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-32) and Sen. Tina Smith (MN). H.R. 1109/S. 1122 would extend mental health services in schools, a key access point for children before a crisis.

H.R. 1329 – Medicaid Re-Entry Act Allows for inmates to receive medicaid benefits again 30 days before release.

H.R. 2451 – Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act introduced by John Katko (NY-24). H.R. 2431 would authorize a new loan repayment program in designated mental health professional shortage areas.