MHLG Writes to Secretary Azar to ensure access to COVID-19 Vaccine for Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Providers and Consumers MHLG Urges Congress to Take Actions to Address the Unprecedented Mental Health and Substance Use Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Since the enactment of CARES Act in March, these effect have grown significantly and are rapidly undoing the hard-fought progress that Congress had made previously to address the long-standing mental health, addiction, and suicide crises. MHLG Expresses Support for the TREAT Act: MHLG wrote in support of the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act (H.R. 8283/S.4421), which would increase access to health care during the national public health emergency by allowing health care practitioners with a valid practitioners’ license to provide services, including telehealth services, in all states for the duration of the public health emergency. MHLG Writes to Administrator Seema Verna Regarding CMS-1734-P: MHLG comments on the permanent expansion of telehealth services recently proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and to offer our recommendations for additional, critical areas of flexibility in telehealth. MHLG Writes to Support SAMHSA Funding: MHLG wrote to Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leather McCarthy to express strong support for $4.5 billion in desperately needed funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as provided in the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act. MHLG Calls on Congress to Increase Federal Response to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic: MHLG calls on Congress to continue the existing 6.2 percentage point increase and further raise the FMAP by an additional 7.8 percent points as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act) (H.R. 6800), temporarily extend this additional 14 percentage point increase at least through June of 2021, and retain a strong maintenance of effort provision. MHLG Urges the Senate to Make Investments and Changes to Mitigate the Mental Health and Substance Use-Related Effects of COVID: MHLG wrote to Leader Mitch McConnell and Leader Charles Schumer to urge them to make substantial investments and critical policy changes to mitigate the mental health and substance use-related effects of COVID-19 and the impact on individuals and families and the economic impacts on the providers they rely on for their care. MHLG Writes in Support of Rep. Paul Tonko’s COVID-19 Mental Health Research Act (H.R. 6645): MHLG wrote to the Honorable Frank Pallone, the Honorable Anna Eshoo, the Honorable Greg Walden, and the Honorable Michael C. Burgess to show support for H.R. 6645, which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), to conduct or support research on the mental health consequences of SARS-CoV2 or COVID-19. MHLG Asks to Advance advance the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R.4194/S.2661): MHLG wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Honorable Frank Pallone, the Honorable Kevin McCarthy, and the Honorable Greg Walden to advance H.R.4194/S.2661, to designate “988” as the three-digit hotline number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and make mental health crisis services more readily available. MHLG Expresses Support for the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (H.R. 945/ S. 286): MHLG wrote to the Honorable Richard Neal, Honorable Kevin Brady, Honorable Frank Pallone, and Honorable Greg Walden to express support for H.R. 945/S. 286, which would allow marriage and family therapists and licensed mental health counselors to bill Medicare for their services. MHLG Writes to the Honorable Tina Smith and the Honorable Lisa Murkowski to Express Support for S.3792, the Tele-Mental Health Improvement Act of 2020: MHLG wrote to Senator Smith and Senator Murkowski to express strong support for S.3792, the Tele-Mental Health Improvement Act of 2020, which would require group health plans and health insurers to cover mental health and substance use disorder telehealth services during COVID-19. MHLG Writes to Administrator Seema Verma to Request Making Telehealth Funds Permanent: MHLG wrote to Administrator Seema Verna to request that regulations providing flexibility for telehealth in Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and federally subsidized and funded health programs be extended after the COVID-19 emergency. MHLG Writes to Members of Congress to Express Support for the bipartisan Health Care Protection Act (H.R. 6810): MHLG wrote to Congress about the bipartisan Health Care Protection Act, which would provide critical subsidies to COBRA eligible individuals for six months. Subsidies would be equal to the employer contribution if the employee were still employed. MHLG Writes to Members of Congress on Suicide Prevention and Youth Mental Health Priorities during COVID-19: MHLG wrote to members of Congress to ask that they include suicide prevention and youth mental health policies and funding within the next COVID-19 relief package. MHLG Writes to Congressional Leadership Announcing Priorities for COVID-4 Bill: MHLG wrote to Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer and Leader McCarthy urging Congress to make substantial investments and critical policy changes to mitigate the mental health and substance use-related effects of COVID-19. MHLG Urges Congress to Expand Statutory Authority to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL): MHLG wrote to Leaders McConnell, Pelosi, Schumer, and McCarthy urging Congress to expand statutory authority to the U.S. Department of Labor in order for the agency to require ERISA plans to cover telethealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. MHLG Writes to Secretary Scalia About the Need to Require Insurers to Allow for Telemental Health via Any Secure Platform During the COVID-19 Pandemic: MHLG wrote to Secretary Eugene Scalia at the Department of Labor about the need to require insurers, including those that offer self-funded plans (regulated by ERISA and the Department of Labor at the federal level), allow for telementalhealth via any secure platform during this pandemic. MHLG Requests Immediate Action to Protect the Mental Health of Our Nation’s Citizens: MHLG wrote to Leaders McConnell, Schumer, and McCarthy to request an act of congress to require insurers, including those that offer self-funded plans (regulated by ERISA and the Department of Labor at the federal level), allow for telementalhealth via any secure platform during this pandemic. MHLG Supports the Mental Health of Americans Impacted by COVID-19 through Peer Support: MHLG wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell, McCarthy, and Schumer to urge them to provide funding for virtual peer support programs for individuals, including group support meetings, for individuals with behavioral health conditions and substance abuse disorders. MHLG Statement on State Coverage of Telehealth Service Amid Coronavirus, COVID-19: MHLG request states to temporarily lift restrictions on telebehavioral health at all levels of care by telephone or video for individuals regardless of insurance plan and ensure payment parity until the conclusion of this national emergency.