Friday, December 23, 2022

APA Applauds Mental Health Provisions in Federal End-of-Year Spending Package

APA today responded to the Congressional passage of the fiscal year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill (HR 2617 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023). The bill includes funding for workforce equity, collaborative care, telehealth, and other measures that APA supports.

“As families around the nation continue to contend with the adverse impacts of the pandemic, a crisis in child and adolescent mental health, a high rate of suicide, and the opioid epidemic, it is heartening to see Congress forge a bipartisan agreement and invest in policies that that are proven to help,” APA said in a statement.

The fiscal year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill includes funding to support following:

Workforce Equity: The bill invests in 100 new graduate medical education slots specifically for psychiatry or psychiatry subspecialties.

Collaborative Care Model: The bill provides grants and technical assistance to primary care practices to implement the evidence-based Collaborative Care Model into their practices for prevention of mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) and early intervention for treatment.

Telehealth: The bill extends certain emergency measures related to Medicare telehealth payments for mental health services. It also delays implementation of the in-person requirement for such services until December 31, 2024.

Health Equity: The bill provides increased authorization and funding for programs to improve maternal health and for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Minority Fellowship Program. APA participates in this program.

Mental Health/SUD Funding: The bill significantly increases funding for critical mental health and SUD programs under SAMHSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Parity Compliance: The bill eliminates the ability of non-federal governmental health plans to opt out of parity and provides funding for state insurance departments to enforce and ensure compliance with mental health parity requirements.

APA also expressed concern that Congress had only adjusted and not completely eliminated a cut in Medicare payments to physicians. The cut, which will go into effect on January 1, was originally slated to be 4.5% but will now be 2%.

“This runs counter to the need to improve access to care for patients, and we urge Congress to revisit this continuing challenge as soon as possible in the new year,” APA said in the statement.

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