Lawmakers push for Medicare, Medicaid to pay for more mental health services
Medicare and Medicaid programs may soon pay for more long-term care patients’ mental health services under a proposal being prepped by Senate leaders.
The directive is among several telehealth initiatives that are, so far, apart from a discussion draft being developed by the Senate Committee on Finance. The draft, which was released Thursday, outlines several telehealth flexibilities that backers want to be a permanent part of the senators’ larger mental healthcare work.
“The pandemic made clear that telehealth is a game-changer, particularly so Americans can get mental health care when they need it,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Finance Committee Chair, said in a statement. “These policies will help strengthen access, awareness and support for telehealth, including by creating a ‘bill of rights’ for information on the availability of telehealth for mental health care.”
Other policies in the draft legislation call for the permanent removal of Medicare’s in-person visit requirement for tele-mental-health services and preserving access to audio-only mental health coverage in Medicare when necessary and appropriate.