S.286: Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019

Overview

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 286) would allow America’s seniors access to marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs) through Medicare. By providing these mental health professionals the opportunity to participate in the Medicare program, this bill would expand the number of mental health providers available to our nation’s seniors.

In the United States alone, 20 percent of individuals ages 55 and older experience some mental health concerns. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, there are more than 5,000 Mental Health Professionals Shortage Areas in the United States, and half of all counties in the U.S. have no practicing psychiatrists or psychologists. Seniors in rural communities are the most adversely affected by these shortage areas.

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act would lift restrictions on specific mental health professionals that bar them from billing Medicare. This would increase access to existing mental health professionals and allow them to treat America’s seniors.

H.R. 945 is the House companion bill.

Source

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Our Stance

Support

Priority

Medium

Bill Number

S.286

Date Introduced

January 31, 2019

Committee

Senate Finance Committee

Bill Status

Introduced or Prefiled