New Legislation Dedicates $300M to School-Behavioral Health Provider Partnerships

A group of U.S. senators have re-introduced a piece of legislation aimed at helping schools team up with local mental health providers to provide students with on-site services. The legislation, dubbed the Mental Health Services for Students Act, would provide $300 million in funding to education agencies, tribal schools and community-based organizations to help foster […]

Senators Blast Health Plans for ‘Fleecing American Consumers’ with Behavioral Health Ghost Networks

The Senate Finance Committee signaled bipartisan interest in holding health plans to account for ghost networks. On Wednesday, the committee heard testimony from health care advocates and providers on ghost networks. Although the committee did not take action, members discussed the importance of tackling ghost networks as part of its work in reforming mental health […]

Lawmakers Introduce Parity Reform Effort in Government-Backed Health Plans

Two Democratic senators have proposed changes to the Social Security Act that could ensure parity and integration of behavioral health in government health plans. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced Wednesday the release of the Better Mental Health Care for Americans Act, a bill that would impact behavioral health provisions of […]

Senate Committee Releases Bipartisan Behavioral Health Parity Proposal

Key U.S. senators put forward a tentative plan aimed at bolstering behavioral health parity in Medicare and Medicaid. On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee released a discussion draft bill on behavioral health parity in Medicare and Medicaid, a fifth in a series of similar proposed reforms. Leading into 2022, the finance committee formed five bipartisan […]

‘There’s at Least One More Legislative Train’ for Behavioral Health Reform to Ride Before 2023

Behavioral health reform efforts have a chance of passing during Congress’ lame-duck session. The final days of the legislative session include several must-move bills, according to experts with the law firm Polsinelli. Combined with a bipartisan interest in behavioral health reform, the environment on the Hill could be favorable to seeing key provisions clearing Congress.  […]

Senate Finance Committee Entertains Adding LMFTs, Counselors to Medicare

The Senate Finance Committee is considering establishing Medicare reimbursements for mental health services from licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) and licensed professional counselors. On Thursday, the committee released draft legislation that would impact several regulations — mostly involving Medicare — related to the behavioral health workforce. “There is an enormous need all across the […]

Gun Deal Pushes for Mental Health Investments, Expansion of CCBHC Model

Lawmakers in the gridlocked U.S. Senate announced a framework for legislation meant to address public mass shootings in schools while also building upon the nation’s mental health foundation. Announced on Sunday, the proposed plan would enact certain gun-reform policies and pave the way for several mental health- and school safety-related efforts. Ultimately, the goal would […]

Senate’s First Crack at Mental Health Reform Zeroes in on Telehealth

New draft legislation would remove Medicare’s in-person requirements for mental health telehealth visits. The Senate Finance Committee released draft legislation that for the first time encapsulates the work of the committee on mental health initiatives. Released May 26, the draft seeks to establish and expand the use of telehealth to treat the behavioral health of […]

Key Senators in Behavioral Health Reform Effort Call For DEA to Continue Virtual MAT Flexibility

A bipartisan duo of U.S. Senators is putting pressure on the Biden administration to make the COVID-era regulations that have freed up the use of virtual medication-assisted treatment permanent. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) called on the top executives of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Drug Enforcement Administration […]

‘Time Has Run Out’: Senate Committee Sends Strong Message About Mental Health Parity Enforcement

Members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee put insurers on notice as they explored ways to better enforce the 13-year-old parity enforcement law meant to be a boon to the behavioral health industry.  During a hearing on Wednesday, Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) expressed his frustration over the apparent noncompliance of the health insurance […]