June 27, 2022
On October 5, Rep. Tenney wrote: It was a privilege to co-lead the bipartisan REACHING Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act, which passed the House as part of a larger package, to improve programs that provide care & treatment for mental health, suicide prevention, substance abuse, & more.
Washington, DC — Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) today (June 27, 2022) highlighted the passage of the bipartisan REACHING Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act, which is a bill she co-led that was included as part of a larger mental health package passed by the House last week. The broader package, entitled the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, was passed by a bipartisan vote of 402-20.
Reauthorizing Evidence-based And Crisis Help Initiatives Needed to Generate Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act of 2022 or the REACHING Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act of 2022
This bill reauthorizes through FY2027 various activities related to mental health services and resources. It also establishes grants for assisted outpatient treatment programs.
Specifically, the bill reauthorizes a policy laboratory housed within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that promotes evidence-based practices and service delivery models.
Additionally, the bill reauthorizes grants and similar assistance for
- projects and programs to address priority mental health needs of regional and national significance,
- integrated primary care and behavioral health care at the community level,
- community-based systems to respond to behavioral health crises,
- programs to raise awareness about mental health services and resources in communities and train community members about how to respond appropriately and safely to individuals with mental disorders,
- suicide prevention and intervention programs for individuals over age 25 who are at risk of suicide, and
- assertive community treatment programs for individuals with the most severe functional impairments associated with mental illness.
The bill also requires the Center for Mental Health Services within SAMHSA to award grants to localities, mental health systems, mental health courts, or other entities for assisted outpatient treatment programs (i.e., medically prescribed mental health treatment that is lawfully ordered by a state or local court and that a patient receives while living in a community).
Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022
This bill reauthorizes through FY2027, expands, and modifies programs, grants, and activities that focus on mental and behavioral health.
Specifically, the bill reauthorizes and modifies
- the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances Program,
- the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant,
- the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant,
- the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Grant,
- the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline program,
- grants related to suicide prevention, and
- grants to support the behavioral health workforce.
Additionally, the bill expands access to opioid and other substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. For example, the bill (1) eliminates a provision that generally requires individuals to be addicted to opioids for at least a year before being admitted to an opioid treatment program, and (2) promotes access to high-quality recovery housing.
Other matters addressed by the bill include
- coordination of federal efforts related to behavioral health;
- maternal mental health and substance use disorders;
- prevention and treatment of mental and behavioral health issues for veterans, members of the Armed Forces, first responders, tribal populations, and other specified groups;
- best practices for a crisis response continuum of care;
- eating disorders;
- school-based mental health services;
- coverage of mental and behavioral health care through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, including for juveniles in public institutions;
- oversight of pharmacy benefit managers;
- compliance with federal mental health parity requirements, including by self-funded, nonfederal insurance plans; and
- integration of behavioral health in primary care settings.
Rep. Tenney claimed passage of H.R. 7237, The “REACHING Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act,” as a win, but it didn’t pass; it never emerged from committee. H.R. 7666, the “Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act,” did pass 402-20. Twenty Republicans voted NO. Was Rep. Tenney’s bill effectively included in H.R. 7666? Was Rep. Tenney instrumental in passing H.R. 7666? You decide.