Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association
Jim Blundo, MMHCA Executive Director www.mmhca.org
Act Today to Include Counselors in Medicare!
As stated by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
On April 21, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a report recommending mental health counselors be added to the list of Medicare providers. The timing couldn’t be better as AMHCA ramps up efforts to motivate counselors to contact your legislators in support of including our Medicare legislation (H.R. 945/S. 286) in future COVID-19 relief legislation.
The BPC is a well-respected bipartisan think tank comprised of former senior policymakers. The report, “Confronting Rural America’s Health Care Crisis”, was prepared by the Rural Health Task Force, led by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, M.D. The report provides bipartisan policy recommendations to stabilize and transform rural health infrastructure, promote the uptake of value-based and virtual care, and ensure access to local providers. Adding licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to the list of Medicare-covered providers was a key recommendation for ensuring an adequate rural health care workforce.
The BPC highlighted how the report’s policy recommendations offer solutions to the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. This link parallels AMHCA’s efforts to include our Medicare legislation in future COVID-19 stimulus legislation. AMHCA is working closely with our allied organizations from counseling, MFT, and behavioral health clinics to add our language to the next COVID bill. We have received some interest from congressional offices, but have much work to do.
To be successful, we need your help! It is imperative that U.S. Representatives and Senators hear from counselor constituents about the importance of H.R. 945 and S. 286. We urge you to contact your legislators today and ask them to include our Medicare bills in the next COVID-19 package.
Contact your Representative and Senator today! Use the links below to find your federal legislators with email and phone numbers:
Find my Senator (top left corner)
Sample message for call or email [fill in bracketed section providing separate messages to Representative and Senators]:
I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge [Rep. ____ / Sen. ____] to include [H.R. 945/S. 286] in the next COVID-19 relief bill. This legislation authorizes mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a behavioral health crisis and there are not enough mental health professionals to meet the needs of the Medicare population. I urge [Rep. ____ / Sen. ____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by including [H.R. 945/S. 286] in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Thank you for your consideration.