It’s a busy week for MHAMD and the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition! Bill hearings are scheduled for many of the Coalition’s Keep the Door Open 2020 priorities and the General Assembly will get it’s first look at the FY 2021 Behavioral Health Administration budget.
Here are some of the priority bill hearings we’re focused on this week and an ACTION ALERT you can complete to help our advocacy. Our complete bill list is attached.
This legislation was introduced last week to implement recommendations from the (Kirwan) Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. The bill includes nearly every strategy offered by the Maryland Children’s Behavioral Health Coalition to enhance school-based behavioral health services, which have been shown to improve student health and educational outcomes.
Four House and Senate committees will hold a joint hearing today on both bills .
Tell Your Legislators to Support Behavioral Health Parity!
Parity laws require insurers to provide coverage for mental health and substance use treatment at the same level as medical and surgical care. But Maryland insurers are not in compliance with the law, and Marylanders cannot access the care they need and are paying for.
According to a 2019 national study, Marylanders are 10 times more likely to go out-of-network for behavioral health care compared to primary care – a rate that is fourth worst in the nation. This limits access to care and results in higher out-of-pocket costs that can make treatment unaffordable, even for people with insurance.
But there is legislation currently in the Maryland General Assembly that can help.
- SB 334 | HB 455 requires insurers to submit annual parity compliance reports, and
- SB 484 | HB 1165 guarantees consumers won’t pay more for out-of-network behavioral health care
We need your help to pass this legislation! Both bills have hearings scheduled this week. Visit our Action Center to learn more and send a letter directly to your state representatives.
Other Priority Bill Hearings
SB 624 MHAMD supports this bill requiring the development of a behavioral health mobile crisis response and stabilization system for Maryland children and youth. [Tuesday, February 18 – 1:00 p.m. – Senate Finance Committee]
SB 441 MHAMD supports this bill providing that behavioral health crisis response centers may be included on the list of facilities that can accept individuals for an emergency mental health evaluation. This is the companion bill to legislation MHAMD supported last week in the House. [Tuesday, February 18 – 1:00 p.m. – Senate Finance Committee]
HB 607 MHAMD supports this bill establishing a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Center of Excellence to assist in the expansion of CIT programs across the state. This is the companion bill to legislation MHAMD supported last week in the Senate. [Tuesday, February 18 – 1:00 p.m. – House Judiciary Committee]