Senate Finance Committee Passes Stabenow Legislation to Expand Mental Health Services and Workforce

Bipartisan Provisions Authored by Stabenow Build on her Transformative Behavioral Health Initiative

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Finance Committee passed Senator Stabenow’s legislation that would expand behavioral health care and support the social workers, psychiatrists, and other professionals who provide these services. The Committee’s bipartisan mental health task force has written legislation to improve mental health and substance use services for Americans, and today’s legislation builds on this important work.

Over the past years, behavioral health clinics and services have expanded across the country, but those clinics will not be able to provide comprehensive care without a sufficient number of mental health professionals and providers. Senator Stabenow’s provisions will expand the mental health workforce, which will make it easier for Americans to get mental health and substance use disorder care when they need it.

“We know that you can’t have mental health care without mental health professionals. That’s why we’ve been working to take the important steps to invest in the workforce that is needed to achieve our goals of quality mental health and substance use disorder services for all Americans who need them,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our bipartisan taskforce has been working to build on the progress we made when we passed transformative community mental health care for the country last year.”

Senator Stabenow’s provisions that were included as part of the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act would:

  • Expand Medicare’s Health Professional Shortage Area bonus program to attract more mental health care providers to shortage areas, including many rural communities.
  • Require Medicaid to issue new guidance to states on increasing the mental health workforce.
  • Ensure clinical social workers can provide their full range of services to Medicare beneficiaries, including patients in nursing homes.

Senator Stabenow has dedicated her career to ensuring Americans of all ages can receive the mental health and substance use disorder services they need. Last year, Senator Stabenow led the passage of the transformational initiative to fully fund high-quality mental health and addiction services through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. Due to the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, every state and the District of Columbia can expand community behavioral health services to their residents. These Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are transforming community care by setting high-quality standards of care and then funding mental health and substance use disorder services as health care through Medicaid.

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