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October 30, 2022 Rosani Miller No Comments

News

Dear Colleague,

The American Counseling Association (ACA), American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), and the

National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) are working in collaboration with the Medicare Mental Health

Workforce Coalition to urge your organization and your members to Contact Congress Today in support of passing the:

MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS IMPROVEMENT ACT (S.828/H.R. 432)

Passing the Mental Health Access Improvement Act would provide:

  • 225,000 Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists the option to enroll as Medicare providers.
  • Create a new stream of income for eligible Professional Counselors.
  • Increase access to care for our nation’s older Americans, the disabled population, and increase veteran’s provider choice for mental health care.

Where Are We Now:

  • The U.S. House version of the bill passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee.
    • The next step is for the full House of Representatives to Vote on this bill.
  • The U.S. Senate version of the bill was included in the Senate Finance Committee’s draft package on improving the mental health workforce.
    • The Senate may vote on a final package prior to the close of the 2022 Congressional Session.,

YOU CAN SUPPORT THE PROFESSION:

Over the past decade we, along with partner organizations, have advocated for the successful passage of this bill. The bill has passed in both the House and Senate previously, but it has never happened at the same time. This is the firstcongressional session where passage of this bill in both chambers of Congress is realistic.

For bill passage to happen, we need you to advocate for this bill. There are two major steps you must take:

  1. CONTACT YOUR SENATE HEALTH STAFFER: Below you will find a list of Senate Legislative Assistants. Please locate your Senator, and draft a brief e-mail to the staff contact informing them:

The benefit that constituents in the state will have once the Mental Health Access Improvement Act passes.

  • Clearly describe the issues you and your clients face because of the outdated Medicare Policy. Please see the examples below, to help you draft your e-mail:
    • Provide a copy of the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition Congressional One Pager
    • Note that outdated language in current Medicare coverage legislation has resulted in many individuals who rely on Medicare experiencing a variety of challenges to getting the care they need, including:
      • Limited access to more affordable treatment options
      • Lack of continuity of care when individuals in therapy either age into Medicare or become Medicare-eligible due to permanent disability
      • Lack of access to 40% of behavioral health professionals with a master’s degree
      • Barriers to better integration of physical and mental health care
      • Lack of access to coordinated benefits for dual eligible beneficiaries and veterans with Medicare because LPC/MHCs and LMFTs are not recognized as Medicare providers
      • Likelihood of foregoing or discontinuing therapy altogether for individuals living in rural areas with few or no available Medicare providers

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R.432) would close the gap in federal law that prevents MHCs/LPCs and LMFTs from being recognized as Medicare providers. The legislation would give Medicare beneficiaries immediate access to over more than 225,000 additional licensed mental health professionals and help close the widening treatment gap.

PLEASE EMAIL YOUR STATES SENATE STAFFER(s) IN SUPPORT OF INCLUSION OF PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS IN THE MEDICARE PROGRAM

 

Marco Rubio FL 202-224-3041 *Will Green (Leg Asst)
*James Hitchcock (Leg Asst)
*Caleb Seibert (Leg Asst)
*Connor Tomlinson (Leg Asst)
will_green@rubio.senate.gov
james_hitchcock@rubio.senate.gov
caleb_seibert@rubio.senate.gov
connor_tomlinson@rubio.senate.gov