Some News with Regards to Medicare Reimbursement to Mental Health Counselors!
On June 30, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a legislative hearing that included H.R. 945, which provides Medicare reimbursement to mental health counselors. The Heath Subcommittee hearing on “High Anxiety and Stress: Legislation to Improve Mental Health During Crisis” considered 22 bills to improve both quality and access to mental health care in America.
This historic hearing was the first time that counselor Medicare legislation was evaluated as a stand-alone measure. All previous congressional action included our legislation as a piece of a broader health care package. During the hearing, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) strategically highlighted the significant benefits of H.R. 945.
The Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to hold a markup of a selection of these mental health bills in the future. It is critical that H.R. 945 be included in list of bills for markup. To ensure that happens, Representatives need to hear from mental health counselors in their district about the importance of including our bill.
We urge you to contact your Representative this week and ask him/her to include H.R. 945 in the House Energy and Commerce markup of mental health legislation.
Use the link below to find your Representative with email and phone numbers:
Find my Representative
Sample message for call or email [please fill in bracketed sections]:
I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge Representative [___] to request inclusion of H.R. 945 in the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of mental health legislation. H.R. 945 authorizes licensed mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. H.R. 945 ensures that 40% of the mental health workforce is available to deal with the behavioral health crisis that is being created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to care was a key priority of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s legislative hearing and H.R. 945 was the only bill that expanded the clinical workforce to meet the growing demand. I urge Rep. [____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by requesting inclusion of H.R. 945 in the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of mental health legislation. Thank you for your consideration.
Below is the correct posting for the Governor’s new executive order on Telehealth.
EO 2020-138 Emerg order – telehealth – re-issue
MMHCA would like to highlight two parts of what the governor orders at the end:
Number 5 which references the law requiring that the provider be licensed in Michigan to provide Telehealth to Michigan residents and relaxes this requirement while the state of emergency is in place.
Number 7 (b) which defines “healthcare providers” As including health professionals licensed under article 15 of the public health code which includes LPC’s. This addresses the question that seems to be asked a lot, “does this include us?”
We have included two other pieces of information: MCL 500.3476, The law requiring that providers of telehealth to Michigan residents be licensed in Michigan CLICK HERE, and the definition of telehealth in the public health code CLICK HERE.
GPS currently has two positions open for fully licensed therapists. GPS is a trauma informed practice and utilize EMDR, and other trauma informed practices. They work a lot with addiction as well as general mental health.
The GPS offices are newly remodeled and they have awesome technology! So when they resume face to face sessions (utilizing telehealth right now during COVID-19) you will have a beautiful office.
The website is down right now due to a web engineering problem with the host. But I can certainly send you some info about our practice.
GPS Guide to Personal Solutions
1801 E Saginaw St Ste 1
Lansing MI 48912
Sharing that the Governor signed the telehealth bills below into law. This legislative proposal was initiated prior to COVID and applies to the state Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan programs. It will be of interest to MMHCA members who have Medicaid clients.
June 24, 2020
Gov. Whitmer Signs Bills Increasing Health Care Access Into Law
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Whitmer signed House Bills 5412-5416, which increase access to health care for Michiganders through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services. The governor also signed Senate Bill 940 into law.
“I was pleased to sign bills today that will increase access to healthcare in Michigan by ensuring that telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services will be covered by insurers and by Medicaid,” said Governor Whitmer in her signing letter to the Legislature. “These bills codify significant pieces of Executive Order 2020-86, which broadly expanded access to telemedicine as part of Michigan’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the virtues of telemedicine are not unique to this moment, so Michiganders will benefit from reduced costs, increased accessibility, and lower transmission rates of infectious diseases at the doctor’s office for years to come.”
House Bills 5412, 5413, 5414, 5415, and 5416 make up a bill package designed to facilitate remote provision of healthcare services. The bills require health insurance companies and group/non-group healthcare services to cover telemedicine visits without requiring in-person visits. The bill package was sponsored by Representative Hank Vaupel, R-Howell (HB 5412), Representative Doug Wozniak, R-Shelby Twp. (HB 5413), Representative Phil Green, R-Huron Twp. (HB 5414), Representative Frank Liberati, D-Allen Park (HB 5415), and Representative Mary Whiteford, R-Allegan (HB 5416).
Senate Bill 940 delays the principal residence exemption application deadline under certain circumstances related to the COVID state of emergency. The bill was sponsored by Senator Roger Victory, R-Grand Haven.
To view the governor’s signing letter to the legislature, click the link below:
Please use the links below to access our quarterly e-newsletters, the MMHCA LifeLines. MMHCA LifeLines keep members informed of our latest programs and activities.
Click here for June 2020 MMHCA Newsletter
Click here for Correction to Out of My Mind Article in April 2020 Newsletter
Click here for April 2020 MMHCA Newsletter
Click here for February Newsletter 2020
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