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Thank You!

Your advocacy made the difference! The FY21 budget passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor includes many provisions to address the needs of people with behavioral health conditions and their families. In the 2019-2020 session, several key pieces of legislation were passed that will increase the accessibility of the behavioral health system. Your support was critical to meet the growing demand for behavioral health services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Budget Successes

Line item Description Budget priority

Department of Mental Health Rental Subsidy Program

DMH Rental Subsidy Program provides DMH clients with clinical, social, and tenancy support services through community providers.

We secured a $3 million increase over the Governor's proposal (funding DHCD line item 7004-9033 at $10.548 million for FY21). This increase reversed the $2 million shortfall, plus provided an additional $1 million to house an additional 71 individuals. Read our letter in support of the program here!

Elder Mental Health Outreach Team (EMHOT)

EMHOTs support older adults who are experiencing acute mental health crisis.

We secured $1 million for the EMHOT programs, a $200,000 increase from last year. This increase will provide greater support to older adults in isolation from the pandemic and divert excess funding from unnecessary nursing home admission. Read our letter supporting increased funding for EMHOTs here!

Department of Mental Health - Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services

The services that DMH offers to children and families are not available through MassHealth or commercial health insurance and are critical pieces of the community-based children's behavioral health system.

We secured a restoration of the $4 million cut proposed in the revised H2 proposal, and that line item #5042-5000 be funded at $95.045M. This funding will provide families consistent access to the care and supports they have been receiving in past years.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation provides mental health expertise assistance to child care providers.

We secured a $2.5 million earmark for the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program. This program will ensure that early childhood educators are prepared to handle the influx of need without relying on practices such as preschool suspension and expulsion.

Criminal Justice Reform

Jail Diversionary Programs help to divert individuals with behavioral health conditions from the criminal justice system.

We secured $2.59 million in funding to Jail Diversionary Services above H2 funding levels, restoring the $590K cut to this program and increasing the program by $2M to fulfill a backlog of requests and increase the number of co-responder programs in the Commonwealth.

Middlesex County Restoration Center

The Middlesex County Restoration Center is one project, co-led by MAMH, aimed at diverting individuals with behavioral health conditions from the criminal justice system.

In order to continue important planning work to realize the creation of a Restoration Center in Middlesex County, we secured $250,000 in funding.

Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS)

BSAS provides evidence-based treatments for individuals with substance use disorders

We secured an additional $2M over H2 to fund existing training and technical assistance programs offered to BSAS-contracted treatment providers.

Outside Sections

Section 61: Universal Provider Credentialing

Insurers in Massachusetts are not required to use a uniformed credentialing process. Varying credentialing requirements create significant administrative burdens for providers participating across multiple commercial plans and MassHealth. MAMH strongly supported the expansion this or a similar platform so there is a centralized, mandatory credentialing application.

Outside Sections

Section 80: Same-Day Billing

Prohibiting insurance carriers from denying covering or imposing additional costs for same-day behavioral health and primary care visits is critical for moving the Commonwealth toward its goal of delivering integrated, whole-person care. Same-day billing will clearly move our state’s health care delivery system toward the aims of the right care, at the right place, and at the right time.

Legislative Successes

Legislation Description More information

H.913 & S.610, An Act Increasing Consumer Transparency about Insurance Provider Networks

Health insurers' provider directories are often inaccurate and out-of-date, complicating the already difficult process of accessing behavioral health care

Testimony in support

Ghost Networks fact sheet

H.4916, An Act Putting Patients First

Reliable surveys and emerging evidence inform us of a growing need for mental health services among people with pre-existing conditions and those with new conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. H.4888 will help ensure that individuals will continue to have access to tele-behavioral health beyond the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Legislation

S.2796, An Act Putting Patients First

This bill requires health plans to continue covering telehealth (both audio-only and video) for mental health and substance use services after the COVID-19 State of Emergency is lifted.

Legislation

MAMH President and CEO Danna Mauch speaks in a press conference announcing the Senate's passage of the “Mental Health ABC Act” on February 13, 2020.

Students Angela Wallace and Lucas Johnson testifying in support of school mental health education on July 9, 2019.