Grassroots Action Center

November 16, 2023 by NBCC Government Affairs

On Nov. 8, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee passed a bipartisan comprehensive bill by unanimous vote—entitled the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act—that would significantly expand mental health care and substance use disorder services under Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

The following provisions in the bill specifically pertain to mental health and substance use disorder services under federal programs:

  • Expanding Eligibility for Incentives Under the Medicare Health Professional Shortage Area Bonus Program to Practitioners Furnishing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services
  • Medicare Incentives for Behavioral Health Integration with Primary Care
  • Establishment of Medicare Incident to Modifier for Mental Health Services Furnished through Telehealth
  • Guidance on Furnishing Behavioral Health Services via Telehealth to Individuals with Limited English Proficiency under Medicare Program
  • Ensuring Timely Communication Regarding Telehealth and Interstate Licensure Requirements
  • Facilitating Accessibility for Behavioral Health Services Furnished through Telehealth 
  • Guidance to States on Strategies Under Medicaid and CHIP to Increase Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Care Provider Capacity
  • Guidance to States on Supporting Mental Health Services and Substance Use Disorder Care for Children and Youth
  • Recurring Analysis and Publication of Medicaid Health Care Data Related to Mental Health Services
  • Requiring Enhanced & Accurate Lists of (REAL) Health Providers Act

A section-by-section summary of the Act, including details of each of these provisions, is available for in-depth review. 

As part of the federal budget negotiation process over the next several weeks, the provisions highlighted in this report could be considered by the full Senate and House. NBCC will be monitoring the congressional process and reporting on further actions by Congress on these policy initiatives.

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