This bill would reform the way that psychiatric, psychological, and support services for individuals with mental illness are provided to patients and families going through mental health crisis. It covers federal patient privacy policies, reforms to mental health coverage under Medicare and Medicaid, and federal grant programs.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) health care providers are required to comply with certain recordkeeping and patient privacy regulations. Individuals who have serious mental illness would be excepted from some HIPAA privacy regulations so that health information can be disclosed to their caregivers. Caregivers would also be able to access education records protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Medicaid would cover payments for mental health services that are provided on the same day as primary care services, and states would have the option of covering inpatient psychiatric services to non-elderly adults. A 190-day lifetime limit on inpatient psychiatric care imposed by Medicare would be eliminated so long as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services certify that the elimination wouldn’t increase federal spending. Both Medicare and Medicaid would cover prescription drugs used to treat mental health disorders.
Federal grants for the treatment of mental illness would be made available for mental health care providers such as state and local governments, educational institutions, and nonprofits. Among these grants would include:
Innovation grants for entities that have scientifically demonstrated a method of enhancing the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness or integrating physical, mental health, and substance abuse services;
Demonstration grants for organizations to expand, replicate, or scale evidence-based programs to train staff or apply care delivery techniques, and integrating models of care across specialties;
Early childhood intervention and treatment programs to prevent chronic and serious mental illness at preschool and elementary school age;
Workforce development grants that would go to 10 eligible states to train primary care physicians in recognizing signs of mental illness.
Funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) would be reauthorized, which provides support in the process of improving the availability and delivery of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services to those who need them. These provisions include further reforms to ensure that caregivers can access the health information of patients with serious mental illnesses.