Sens. Wyden, Crapo target mental health care barriers

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A pair of lawmakers are soliciting the input of industry professionals regarding efforts to address mental health care barriers.

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Ron Wyden

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) are examining methods to develop bipartisan legislation addressing mental health care access barriers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Far too often, individuals across the country struggle to access timely, quality mental health care and substance use disorder services and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated unmet behavioral health care needs,” Wyden and Crapo wrote. “We seek input from stakeholders across the health care continuum to help us better understand how Congress can address these challenges. Our goal is to develop a bipartisan legislative package before the end of the year addressing many of the behavioral health care challenges currently faced by millions of Americans.”

The solicited input focuses on strengthening the workforce; increasing integration, coordination and access to care; ensuring behavioral and physical health care parity; and advancing implementation of telehealth.

The Finance Committee previously conducted a hearing examining means of improving mental health and substance use treatment. Wyden and Crapo initiated the Finance Committee’s legislative push to improve behavioral health care via correspondence to committee members.

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