What a week! Thank you to everyone who came out for the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition’s 2020 Keep the Door Open Rally. Hundreds of you flooded Annapolis to demand a restoration of nearly $25 million in budget cuts to community mental health and substance use treatment, the appropriate enforcement of federal and state parity laws, and the rest of the Coalition’s 2020 Legislative Agenda.
Thank you to all of the legislators who stood with us, and to all of the speakers who shared their own personal stories. You took the time to speak up for every Marylander living with behavioral health needs, and they heard you loud and clear! The event was covered by a variety of media outlets and it generated a ton of social media activity.
The momentum is on our side, but we need your help to push these priorities over the finish line. Keep an eye out for action alerts in the coming weeks, and thank you for your continued support and determination.
Keep the Door Open Update | ACTION ALERT
There is a lot of activity around the Behavioral Health Coalition’s 2020 Legislative Agenda. Nearly every one of our priority items has received consideration in the House and Senate, some bills are moving out of committee, and we are expecting decisions in the near future about whether the legislature will restore cuts to the FY21 behavioral health budget.
Action Needed A primary focus this year is encouraging the Maryland General Assembly to take action that will (1) ensure the appropriate enforcement of federal and state parity laws and (2) guarantee consumers don’t pay extra when forced to go out-of-network for mental health or substance use treatment.
SB 334/HB 455 and SB 484/HB 1165 would help by requiring insurers to submit annual parity compliance reports and by holding consumers financially harmless when their insurer provider networks are inadequate. Both of these bills have been heard in House and Senate committees, and now a House subcommittee will give the legislation a more thorough look.
We need your help to pass these bills! Your representatives need to hear how important these issues are to their constituents. Please take a moment to visit our Action Center where you can send an email directly to your delegates and senators urging them to support legislation preventing discrimination against Marylanders with mental health and substance use disorders.
Other Bill Hearings
It’s a busy time of year in Annapolis! The MHAMD public policy team will present testimony this week on more than 20 bills plus the FY21 Behavioral Health Administration budget. Here are a few of the issues we’ll be addressing. Our complete bill list is attached.
HB 1140 MHAMD supports this bill requiring the development of a behavioral health mobile crisis response and stabilization system for Maryland children and youth [Wednesday, March 4 – 1:00 p.m. – House Health and Government Operations Committee]
SB 789 MHAMD supports this bill establishing a committee to identify and address factors contributing to suicide deaths in the state [Wednesday, March 4 – 1:00 p.m. – Senate Finance Committee]
SB 849 MHAMD supports this bill expanding legal protections for an individual seeking assistance for a person experiencing a medical emergency after ingesting alcohol or drugs [Thursday, March 5 – 1:00 p.m. – Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee]
SB 966 MHAMD supports this bill prohibiting referrals to unlicensed assisted living facilities [Thursday, March 5 – 1:00 p.m. – Senate Finance Committee]
HB 1474 and SB 693 MHAMD supports these bills increasing pay rates for staff at state psychiatric facilities [Thursday, March 5 – 1:00 p.m. – House Appropriations Committee and Friday, March 6 – 1:00 p.m. – Senate Budget and Taxation Committee]
Maryland General Assembly website.