Maryland Senate Announces Support for Behavioral Health Package
Big news from Annapolis! A bipartisan group of Maryland senators came together Friday to announce their support for a package of behavioral health bills that includes a number of priorities for MHAMD, the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition, and the Children’s Behavioral Health Coalition.
Among other initiatives, senators voiced support for legislation to expand access to the Collaborative Care Model (SB 101), expand Maryland’s network of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (SB 362), and restore High Fidelity Wraparound Services for children and youth with high intensity behavioral health needs (SB 255).
This is a very positive sign as we approach the halfway point of session. You can read more about the announcement in this article from Maryland Matters or you can watch the full press conference here.
2023 MHAMD Legislative Briefing
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 MHAMD Legislative Briefing last week! A sold out room heard Governor Wes Moore speak at length about his vision for behavioral health in Maryland, awards were presented to four behavioral health champions, legislative sponsors of MHAMD priority bills shared details about the various initiatives, and WYPR host Sheilah Kast moderated a panel of experts in a discussion about the benefits of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
Thanks again to everyone who joined us for our first in-person briefing since 2020. Watch for more pictures and video from the event in the coming days.
Priority Bills This Week
The House Health and Government Operations Committee will hold hearings today on two bills that are priorities for MHAMD and our coalition partners.
HB 418 will establish a Behavioral Health Workforce Investment Fund to reimburse for costs associated with educating, training, certifying, recruiting, placing, and retaining behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals. This bill is a key strategy in the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition’s efforts to expand the behavioral health workforce. The Senate version of the bill (SB 283) has already passed out of committee and is scheduled for a vote soon in the full Senate.
HB 322 will expand access to High Fidelity Wraparound services for children and youth with high intensity behavioral health needs. This bill is a key strategy in the Children’s Behavioral Health Coalition’s efforts to prevent lengthy, unnecessary hospital stays for youth and reduce youth suicide.
Other Bills This Week
The Coalition priorities above aren’t the only important policy issues being discussed in Annapolis. Here are some of the other hearings MHAMD is focused on this week. Our full updated bill list is attached.
HB 427 MHAMD supports this bill expanding Good Samaritan legal protections for individuals who call for help at the scene of an overdose or medical emergency.
SB 515 MHAMD supports this bill prohibiting insurance companies from imposing step therapy or fail first requirements for prescription medications used to treat certain mental health disorders.
SB 534 MHAMD supports this bill extending coverage for audio-only telehealth services and telehealth rate reimbursement parity.
Further information about the material above is available on the Maryland General Assembly website.