On Wednesday, September 9th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to move the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (HR 945), as amended, to the floor of the House of Representatives! This bill, which passed without any opposition, is expected to be considered by the full House soon. See a summary of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s work in passing HR 945 and the other 25 healthcare bills.
This vote is a very significant development. It is the first committee vote on the MFTs in Medicare legislation since 2009, when the MFTs in Medicare language was included in an earlier version of the Affordable Care Act.
AAMFT would like to thank Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY) for sponsoring H.R. 945 and fighting for inclusion of H.R 945 as one of the bills considered by the committee this week. Additionally, we want to thank Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) who spoke so eloquently in support of this bill at the markup session. Finally, we would like to thank the 120 Members of Congress who have cosponsored H.R. 945, as well as the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who voted, without any opposition, to move this legislation to the full House for consideration.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee formally passed an amended version of H.R. 945. Almost all bills are amended at some point by committees. This amendment, which was agreed upon by the committee, makes a few changes to H.R. 945 as it was introduced. The amendment limits the ability of MFTs and MHCs to receive direct reimbursement for providing services to Medicare beneficiaries in hospice programs, as well as the authorization to develop discharge plans for post-hospital services. However, the other provisions remain in the bill, including the recognition of MFTs and MHCs as Medicare Part B providers, which is the provision that would benefit most members. If H.R. 945 becomes law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will have approximately two years to implement this legislation. The amendment does require a study, due by 2026, pertaining to the impact of this legislation.
AAMFT would like to thank all Family TEAM members, other AAMFT members, and their allies and friends who have submitted grassroots messages to Members of Congress in support of the MFTs in Medicare legislations. These messages have led to Members of Congress supporting this important legislation.
The next step is a vote by the full House of Representatives. If you have not already contacted your Members of Congress to support HR 945 and the companion bill in the Senate, S. 286, please do so through this link.
Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo’s comments in support of H.R. 945
Representative John Katko’s press release on H.R. 945
Representative Morgan Griffith’s press release in support of H.R. 945