Thursday, June 23, 2022

APA Praises House Passage of Legislation to Address Nation’s Mental Health Crisis

APA yesterday applauded the passage of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act (HR 7666) by the House of Representatives, calling the bill “an important step to expeditiously address the nation’s mental health crisis.”

In addition to reauthorizing federal programs that promote access and coverage to behavioral health and substance use disorder services, APA noted in a news release that HR 7666 includes several provisions that are high priorities for APA:

  • Parity: Eliminates the parity opt-out for non-federal governmental health plans and provides funding for state insurance departments to enforce and ensure compliance with the mental health parity law.
  • Collaborative Care: Supports uptake of the evidence-based Collaborative Care Model via grants to primary care practices to better integrate behavioral health care into primary care settings.
  • Crisis Services: Directs funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for 988 Lifeline implementation and supports state implementation of the lifeline through technical assistance and coordination.
  • Workforce Equity Investments: Makes crucial investments in the behavioral health care workforce by reauthorizing and increasing authorized funding for SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program.

A summary of the bill notes that the bill also “expands access to opioid and other substance use disorder treatments and recovery support services. For example, the bill (1) eliminates a provision that generally requires individuals to be addicted to opioids for at least a year before being admitted to an opioid treatment program, and (2) promotes access to high-quality recovery housing.”

“Our nation faces an unprecedented mental health crisis among people of all ages, one that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and continuing acts of mass violence. At the same time, more than one million Americans have lost their lives to drug overdoses over the past two decades, devastating their families, our communities, and nation as a whole,” a statement from the White House noted. “To ensure we have a mental health and substance use care system that works for everyone, investments to shore up these systems are essential.”

The bill will now move to the Senate. APA encourages members to contact their senators to ask for their support in passing this bill.

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