Senate HELP leaders release draft mental health bill

AHA News Now

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) this week released draft legislation to address the nation’s mental health crisis, which the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark up on March 16. The draft bill excludes several provisions in earlier legislation by Sens. Cassidy and Murphy, including a modification of the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion, allowing Medicaid coverage of same day primary care and mental health services, and revisions to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration rules on the sharing of alcohol and drug treatment records. In addition, the draft legislation would establish a chief medical officer at SAMHSA, rather than creating an assistant secretary of mental health and substance use disorders at the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate federal mental health services. For more information, see the summary of the draft bill. The senators said they plan to introduce additional mental health measures during the March 16 markup, as well as other legislation to address the nation’s opioid epidemic. The Senate Finance and Judiciary committees reportedly are working on additional mental health bills.

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: Medicaid, Behavioral health, opioids

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