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FY21 Budget

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. Your support was critical to meet the growing demand for behavioral health services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FY21 budget signed by the Governor includes increased funding for the DMH Rental Subsidy Program. This increase will help an additional 71 individuals who are "stuck" in psychiatric hospitals or who are experiencing homelessness secure affordable, community-based housing with supportive services.

Legislative & Budget Advocacy

To learn more about MAMH's overall legislative priorities, refer to our MAMH's 2020 Legislative Agenda.

MAMH's budget priorities are outlined in our FY21 Letter to the Legislature.

For more information on how the budget process works, check out our Massachusetts State Budget Process Summary.

Budget Priorities

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 requested 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 requested $1 million for the EMHOT programs, a $200,000 increase from last year. This increase will provide greater support to older adults in the 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 building blocks of the community-based children's behavioral health system.

We requested a restoration of the $4 million cut proposed in the revised H2 proposal, and that line item #5042-5000 be funded at $95.045M. Now more than ever, families need consistent access to the care and supports they have been receiving in past years, and the costs of making such programs virtual will only add expenses for service providers. During a time when the need for such services is skyrocketing, preserving all services already in place is crucial.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

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

We requested a $2.5 million earmark for the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program. This program will be crucial for ensuring 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 requested $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 requested $250,000 in funding.

Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS)

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

We requested that the FY21 budget support 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 would 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 Priorities

Legislation Description More information

H.910 & S.588, An Act Relative to Mental Health Parity Implementation

Insurance coverage for behavioral health conditions must be the same as coverage for physical health conditions.

Testimony in support

H.909 & S.590, An Act to Require Health Care Coverage for the Emergency Psychiatric Services

Access to emergency psychiatric services should not be dependent upon one’s health insurance carrier.

Testimony in support

(NOW LAW) 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.482 & S.244, An Act Relative to Mental Health Education

Addressing the behavioral health needs of students is one of the greatest challenges within schools.

Testimony in support

School Mental Health Education fact sheet

Mental Health Education

H.401 & S.264, An Act Supporting Healthy Development Among Preschoolers

A young child who is suspended or expelled is 10 times more likely to drop out of school, experience academic failure, and face incarceration.

Testimony in support

H.172 & S.64, An Act Relative to Supported Decision-Making Agreements for Certain Adults with Disabilities

Supported decision-making allows individuals to make their own decisions with assistance from people they trust and is critical to helping people retain their legal rights and dignity.

Adult Guardianship & Conservatorship, Rogers Orders and Their Alternatives

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.

Legislation MAMH Endorses

  • H.4916, 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.
  • S.2796, 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.
  • S.2546, Mental Health ABC Act: This now law includes provisions to enforce mental health parity laws, require commercial coverage of Emergency Services Programs (ESPs), require coverage for mental health and physical health services when they are delivered on the same day, and create a workforce pipeline to encourage and support individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in mental health (press statement).
  • Healthcare Reform 2.0 Bill: Governor Charlie Baker's health reform bill prioritizes behavioral health and primary care, requiring insurers, hospitals, and physician groups to increase spending in these areas by 30% by 2023 (testimony).