First look: Bipartisan behavioral health access bill
A bipartisan group of six House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a plan aimed at integrating behavioral health services for Medicare beneficiaries in a primary care setting.
Why it matters: It's part of a broader trend of rolling mental health care into primary care practices, but aimed specifically at seniors.
Details: The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Michelle Steel, Lizzie Fletcher, Gus Bilirakis, August Pfluger, Susie Lee and Dan Kildee.
- It encourages the integration of behavioral health services by increasing Medicare reimbursement rates via specific CPT codes for three years.
- The increased reimbursement rates are supposed to help offset the startup costs of integrating mental health care into doctors' offices.
- The bill would also make the Health and Human Services secretary create quality measurement reporting requirements for integrating behavioral health with primary care.
Of note: A Senate version of the legislation was introduced in April by Sens. Catherine Cortez-Masto and John Cornyn.
The big picture: 20% of people ages 65 and older reported having symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to a February 2023 survey from KFF.