Behavioral Health Items in House Democrats’ Stimulus Proposal

NYAPRS E News

February 10, 2021

House Democrats released details of their proposed COVID relief package, which includes support for President Biden’s proposal for $350 billion in funding for state and local governments. Here’re some provisions related to behavioral health: 

  • $3.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Community Mental Health block grant programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 
  • Enhanced Federal Medicaid Support for Bundled Community-Based Mobile Crisis Intervention Services to incentivize state Medicaid programs to cover mobile crisis intervention services for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis.
  • $80 million for mental and behavioral health training for health care professionals, para-professionals, and public safety officers including
    • $20 million for a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign targeting health care professionals and first responders, and 
    • $40 million for grants for health care providers to promote mental and behavioral health among their health professional workforce.
  • $80 million to develop new grant programs at SAMHSA to allow additional entities, such as community-based entities and behavioral health organizations, to receive grants to support mental health and substance use disorder services.
    • This provision provides $10 million for the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network, an existing SAMHSA program that works to develop and promote effective community practices for children and adolescents exposed to a wide array of traumatic events. 
    • It also provides $50 million for existing SAMHSA grant programs that support youth mental health services and suicide prevention efforts.
  • $100 million to the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program, which is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to expand access to behavioral health services through focused training for behavioral health paraprofessionals, such as peer support specialists.
  • $420 million for mental and behavioral health prevention and treatment services among Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations

Medicaid Re-Entry Bill Introduced

The Medicaid Reentry Act was introduced yesterday in both the House (HR 955) and the Senate (S 285).  Both bills are bipartisan, a list of original co-sponsors is copied below.  Advocates’ focus is now on ensuring that Medicaid Reentry will be included in the COVID relief package currently being crafted by Congress.  The bill allows states to 

Some talking points include: 

  • Congress must pass #MedicaidReentryAct in the #COVID19 relief bill to support health care for individuals 30 days prior to release from incarceration, ensuring more coordinated behavioral & other health care for people reentering our shared communities, a measure made all the more critical than ever right now during the pandemic!
  • Due to systemic racism, POC are disproportionately incarcerated, face disparities in health care coverage & access, & experience poorer health outcomes, incl higher #COVID19 rates. #MedicaidReentryAct can help promote racial justice & equity in access to health care. 
  • As people transition from incarceration to the community, the #MedicaidReentryAct would reduce care disruptions & provide a warm handoff to vital community-based physical, mental health & substance use disorder services, medications, & supports. 

HR 955 sponsors:

Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY)

Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH)

Congressman David Trone (D-MD)

Congressman David McKinley (R-WV)

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL)

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL)

S 285 sponsors:

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Senator Mike Braun (R-IN)

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Tags

COVID relief