Sens. Moran, Smith introduce bill to increase access to behavioral health care

 Sens. Moran, Smith introduce bill to increase access to behavioral health care

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-Senators Jerry Moran and Tina Smith have introduced new legislation that will make it easier to access ethical health care.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) Says she and Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan) have introduced bipartisan legislation that would expand access to ethical health care. He said the bill would make it disease-free to receive ethical health services in a primary care setting, making mental health care more affordable and accessible.

“When I experienced depression, the resources were there for me. But now, so many people don’t have access to the moral health care they need,” Sen. Smith said. “We need to. to start treating mental health with the same urgency that we care about physical health, and that starts by making sure everyone who needs help gets it. This bill will help primary care providers provide physical and mental health care so that care is more accessible to all.

Smith noted that combining primary care and behavioral health care can reduce barriers to access for those in need of mental health care. He said addressing physical and mental health in primary care settings can also be cost-effective for patients and health care providers.

“Primary care physicians have relationships with their patients that have been built over many years through trust and familiarity,” Moran said. “Combining mental health care and behavior in primary care settings will help provide Americans with quick access to mental health services through a familiar point of view. healthcare.This legislation will provide primary care physicians with the resources needed to begin integrating mental health care into primary care settings to better serve in patients.

However, Smith said this model of integrated care is difficult to implement. Specifically, he said primary care providers often do not have the financial resources to hire behavioral health professionals or cover immediate costs.

“With the rise of people struggling with their mental health and a mental health crisis among workers there is a great need to promote integrated options,” said Sue Abderholden, Executive Director of NAMI Minnesota . “This means having mental health professionals in primary or child care offices to remove barriers and provide early intervention.”

Smith said that the Improving Access to the Behavioral Health Integration Act amend an existing federal program to expand access to integrated care. Specifically, he said the law:

  • Establish a federal grant program for primary care practices to implement evidence-based behavioral health integration programs.
  • Prioritize support for practices that reflect the financial sustainability of health behavior integration programs and have the capacity to expand access to mental health and substance use disease services in areas of lack of medical services. Given the preference of small practices without 15 clinicians.
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services should develop evidence-based criteria and reporting requirements to measure the use of ethical health matching models through primary care practices.
  • Direct the Secretary to consult with primary care and behavioral health professionals and patient advocates when developing performance measures and metrics.
  • The Secretary shall publish the results of the evaluation and identify best practices to measure successful models of ethical health integration.

“Primary care physicians always serve as the first point of contact for patients facing behavioral health challenges,” said Sterling Ransone, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Integrating ethical health into primary care is essential to giving patients the full human care they deserve, but practices often face high costs and a lack of support to integrate. ethical health services.The provisions of this bill will provide more basic care practices with the resources they need for meaningful change in practice.

Smith noted that the legislation has been endorsed by a large number of national, state and local health organizations.

“The Bipartisan Policy Center and Bipartisan Policy Center Action endorsed the Improving Access to Behavioral Health Integration Act and commended Sen. Smith and Sen. Moran for their leadership in developing bipartisan proposals to address mental health challenges faced by the country, ”the Bipartisan Policy Center said in a statement. “This bill will provide financial assistance to support the integration and expansion of ethical health care in primary care, especially in areas without services. Recognizing strong connections between physical and ethical health, the Bipartisan Policy Center focuses on breaking down barriers to integrating primary and ethical health care.The BPC and BPC Action look forward to working with Congress to pass this bill.

For more information about the law, click HERE.

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