GAPP - Government Affairs and Public Policy

The Government Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) team advocates for ACA members and the counseling profession on a range of issues, including Medicare reimbursement, portability, and school counseling funding.

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Senate Finance Committee Receives 321 Public Responses to Barriers to Mental Health Care for Counselors

by Dania Lofton | Jan 04, 2022

On December 20, the Senate Finance Committee issued a press release highlighting a bipartisan initiative to address barriers to mental health care. The release, titled “Wyden, Crapo Welcome Input on Addressing the Mental Health Care Crisis,” highlights the 321 public responses to the initiative, including a letter from the American Counseling Association and the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG).

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and many others also responded.  

Among the noteworthy responses was one from the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), which provided a summary of the current U.S. mental health workforce shortage issue:

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) estimates that there will be a national shortage of psychiatrists and addiction counselors by 2030 (BHW 2020a).
  • As of June 2021, HRSA designated 5,834 mental health professional shortage areas (HPSAs), including 3,370 rural HPSAs, 1,986 non-rural HPSAs, and 478 partially rural HPSAs (BHW 2021b).
  • As of September 2021, an estimated 6,559 mental health practitioners are needed to remove all mental health HPSA designations (BHW 2021c).
  • 47 states do not meet 50% of the estimated mental health need in these HPSAs, with a range of 4% in Missouri to 100% in Vermont (MACPAC 2021a, KFF 2019).

To learn more, read ACA’s full response to the Senate Finance Committee’s request for information.

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