Friday, April 10, 2020

APA, Coalition Seek Emergency Funding for Mental Health Organizations During COVID-19 Pandemic

APA has joined the National Council for Behavioral Health, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and 37 other mental health organizations to urge Congress to approve $38.5 billion in emergency funding to support the behavioral health care system during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The funding would support Community Mental Health Centers, crisis service providers, and other organizations whose primary mission is to treat people who have mental or substance use disorders. A significant portion of the money would go to behavioral health organizations that provide care to Medicaid beneficiaries.

The request comes at a time when local mental health and addiction organizations have begun to lay off staff and face hard decisions about limiting services or shutting down, yet the need for their services is on the rise. A national poll released by APA in late March found that more than 36% of Americans say that coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health, 19% are having trouble sleeping, and 8% have been consuming more alcohol or other drugs/substances.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the need for mental health services will only rise,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “We must not only ensure that our communities have access to these services, we must also prepare for a surge in mental health and substance use disorder patients that will occur both during the pandemic and in its aftermath.”

The $38.5 billion figure is based on a survey by the National Council for Behavioral Health in which its members, community behavioral health organizations, projected how much revenue they would lose because of the pandemic. The projections include lost revenue from all sources, including Medicaid, Medicare, and private donations, among others.

Thus far Congress has approved three COVID-19 packages that have allocated hundreds of billions of dollars for health care, yet none of the funding has been dedicated specifically to mental and behavioral health organizations. APA is calling on psychiatrists to take action and reach out to their senators and representatives in support of the $38.5 billion request. Psychiatrists may contact their lawmakers using a prepared message offered through APA’s online advocacy tool. Legislators’ contact information is automatically generated once the user enters his/her zip code.

APA’s COVID-19 Resource Center Keeps You Updated

APA’s COVID-19 Resource Center brings together a number of useful resources from APA and other authoritative sources to help you deal with the COVID-19.


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