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.