Compliments of MMHCA

James Blundo, Executive Director of MMHCA and member of the AMHCA Public Policy and Legislation Committee.

Update on Mental Health Access Improvement Act


Joel Miller

Posted 4-23-2020

The new Economic Stimulus (ES) package you have been hearing about (now being called ES 3.5) is a much focused ES bill on additional funding to help small businesses and hospitals, and funding to increase coronavirus testing.

However, there appears to be congressional interest in developing two new ES packages (ES 4.0 and ES 5.0) for consideration in late May and late June. We are setting our grassroots advocacy sights on those packages to make a push to include legislative language in those measures that would allow clinical mental health counselors (CMHCs) to receive reimbursement for treating Medicare beneficiaries (that bill language is in H.R, 945 and S. 286 – The Mental Health Access Improvement Act).

We have some splendid, additional news on the “advocacy support front” that the Bipartisan Policy Center has included key recommendations in their new report on the rural health care system, where they support inclusion of CMHCs and MFTs in the Medicare program.  It will really help buttress our advocacy arguments and activities.  Please see pages 15 and 54 of the attached report.  The Bipartisan Policy Center is a Washington DC–based think tank that actively promotes bipartisanship in several domestic policy issues like health care, energy, and other economic issues. The organization aims to combine ideas from both the Republican and Democratic parties to address the nation’s key challenges.

We also learned this week that the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has been supporting our Medicare bill over the last two months, and included our bill in their most recent “Patient Forum and Hill Day”, and looking to make another push for the legislation now and throughout this year. I have reached out to their policy staff to bring MJFF into the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition in a more formal way.

We will provide regular updates on our Medicare bill.
Joel Miller
Executive Director & CEO
Alexandria VA