On June 30, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a legislative hearing that included H.R. 945, which provides Medicare reimbursement to mental health counselors. The Heath Subcommittee hearing on “High Anxiety and Stress: Legislation to Improve Mental Health During Crisis” considered 22 bills to improve both quality and access to mental health care in America.
This historic hearing was the first time that counselor Medicare legislation was evaluated as a stand-alone measure. All previous congressional action included our legislation as a piece of a broader health care package. During the hearing, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) strategically highlighted the significant benefits of H.R. 945.
The Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to hold a markup of a selection of these mental health bills in the future. It is critical that H.R. 945 be included in the list of bills for markup. To ensure that happens, Representatives need to hear from mental health counselors in their district about the importance of including our bill.
We urge you to contact your Representative this week and ask him/her to include H.R. 945 in the House Energy and Commerce markup of mental health legislation.
Use the link below to find your Representative with email and phone numbers:
Find my Representative
Sample message for call or email [please fill in bracketed sections]:
I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge Representative [___] to request inclusion of H.R. 945 in the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of mental health legislation. H.R. 945 authorizes licensed mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. H.R. 945 ensures that 40% of the mental health workforce is available to deal with the behavioral health crisis that is being created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to care was a key priority of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s legislative hearing and H.R. 945 was the only bill that expanded the clinical workforce to meet the growing demand. I urge Rep. [____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by requesting inclusion of H.R. 945 in the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of mental health legislation. Thank you for your consideration.