The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015, a bipartisan legislation that aims to fix the nation’s broken mental health system by refocusing programs, reforming grants and removing barriers to mental health care. According to the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), however, the bill falls short of real change.
“We are not supporting the bill at this time,” Jim Finley, AMHCA's director of public policy, told Patient Daily. “It is not what we had hoped to see.”
Finley explained that there is a lack of focus on Medicare provider recognition in the bill.
“Medicare represents 40 percent of the mental health work force and it is not supported,” he said. “Medical care is currently segregated from mental health care and studies show that one can cause the other in many cases. Both should be integrated so patients can be treated holistically.”
That said, the AMHCA is currently pushing H.R. 2759, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2015, which would actually create the real change and support needed for patients to receive clinical mental health counseling and be covered under Part B of the Medicare program, Finley explained.
“Until they support Medicare as part of the bill," Finley said, “everything else is small by comparison.”
The AMHCA is a professional membership organization that represents the clinical mental health counseling profession. Rapid changes in the health care marketplace make it more necessary than ever for AMHCA members to make their voices known to Congress. The organization pushes to support those in the profession and the patients who rely on them.
AMHCA expresses disappointment with Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015