On Wednesday, June 15th, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) released a discussion draft for youth mental health care policies. This discussion draft follows a Request for Information (RFI) in the fall of 2021 and four subsequent committee hearings.

The policy goals of this discussion draft are, according to the press release, to:

  • Eliminate barriers to coordinated care by allowing all providers to receive Medicaid reimbursement for behavioral and physical health services delivered on the same day.
  • Support mental health care in schools by updating Medicaid guidance to states to clarify allowable payments and identify strategies to reduce administrative burden.
  • Improve enforcement and oversight of Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, the country’s gold standard in children’s health coverage.
  • Streamline enrollment for out-of-state providers in another state’s Medicaid program.
  • Direct Medicaid to guide states on how they can cover treatment family care services for foster youth enrolled in Medicaid with intensive mental health needs.

A telehealth discussion draft was released last month. No markup has been announced yet.

Last month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up a package of mental health bills as well, the “Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-being Act of 2022,” which addresses issues such as:

  • Pediatric mental health care access
  • Infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment.
  • Comprehensive community mental health services
  • Substance use disorder treatment and early intervention services for children and adolescents
  • Suicide prevention and early intervention
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services for students in higher education.