The House released its fifth COVID-19 relief package on Tuesday and counselor Medicare language was not included. While this is a setback, we still have the opportunity to pass of our legislation. At the direction of our congressional champions, AMHCA is now shifting our grassroots advocacy to the Senate. We are urging counselors to take up the charge and contact your Senator to add S. 286 into its COVID-19 package. The Senate timeline is unclear, but they appear on a slower track than the House so there remains time to influence the process.
As previously reported, AMHCA is working closely with our allied organizations from counseling, MFT, and behavioral health clinics to add our language to this upcoming COVID bill.
We will not be included in the Senate COVID legislation if U.S. Senators don’t hear from you about the importance of S. 286. We urge you to contact your two Senators and ask them to include our Medicare bill in their stimulus package.
Contact your Senators today! Use the link below to find your Senator with email and phone numbers:
https://www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm (top left corner)
Sample message for call or email [please fill in bracketed sections]:
I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge Senator [___] to include S. 286 in the COVID-19 relief bill currently under development. This legislation authorizes licensed mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a behavioral health crisis and there are not enough mental health professionals to meet the needs of the Medicare population. I urge Senator [____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by including S. 286 in the COVID-19 relief bill. Thank you for your consideration.
Thank you for taking action!
SMHCA Legislative Chair