HLC Newsletter

Congressional Committee Actions on Mental Health Are Essential Steps to Meet Urgent Needs

Healthcare Leadership Council Encourages Passage of Bills to Address Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage, Provide Mental Health Support to Healthcare Professionals

WASHINGTON – An alliance of the nation’s healthcare leaders today applauded U.S. Senate and House committees for their actions this week to strengthen the accessibility of mental health services for the public at large and for healthcare workers who have been under enormous stress since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Healthcare Leadership Council has urged Congress to move critical mental health legislation expeditiously toward full passage.

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee released bipartisan draft legislation that will increase the number of Medicare Graduate Medical Education psychiatric resident slots, beginning in 2024, provide Medicare coverage for a broader range of therapy and counseling services, and incentivize psychiatrists to practice in geographic areas where shortages exist. The bill would also provide exemptions to current federal regulations and allow hospitals to give therapeutic programs to their own healthcare workers to address worker burnout. Also this week, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced bipartisan legislation to remove barriers preventing healthcare workers from accessing mental wellness programs.

“There is an increasing realization that our healthcare system must address the health and wellness of the mind with the same priority it does the body,” said Healthcare Leadership Council president Mary R. Grealy. “It is abundantly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened stress, anxiety and depression challenges in our society while, at the same time, exacerbating healthcare workforce shortages and increasing the rates of burnout among medical professionals. We are pleased to see Congress recognizing and taking steps to address these urgent problems.”

Ms. Grealy added, “Throughout the healthcare system today, we’re seeing innovative providers and companies in all sectors emphasizing behavioral healthcare and integrating it with physical wellness. What the system lacks is sufficient personnel to address our country’s growing needs. We urge Congress to pass these bills and begin filling these gaps.”

 

For Immediate Release September 23, 2022
Contact: Kelly Fernandez 202-449 3452