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The National Voice of Clinical Social Work 

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Mental Health Matters Act - 10-6-22

October 06, 2022 2:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Mental Health Matters Act, a bill that could significantly improve access to mental health and addiction care in this country.

There are two critical provisions within the bill: Strengthening Behavioral Health Benefits Act (Title VI) and the Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act (ERISA, Title VII):

  • The Strengthening Behavioral Health Benefits Act (Title VI) would provide civil monetary penalty authority to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), which required insurers to cover mental health and addiction treatment at parity with treatment for physical health. The problem is that USDOL currently has one investigator for every 12,500 plans. USDOL has asked Congress to give it this authority with more funding for investigators.
  • The Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act (Title VII), would better protect the 136 million Americans enrolled in private sector employer (ERISA) health plans. This legislation would prohibit ERISA plans from inserting mandatory arbitration provisions into plan policies that prevent consumers from using the courts to challenge wrongful coverage denials. The Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act also addresses “discretionary clauses” into their plan policies, which allows plans to decide what treatment is medically necessary when they consider adjudicating benefits under these policies.

Hopefully the Senate will take up this bill and we will see the kind of changes that are necessary to make mental health parity a reality. I will let you know when we need to support the bill in the Senate.

To see a summary of the Act go to:

Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
Clinical Social Work Association

PO Box 105
Granville, Ohio  43023

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