Responding to a request for policy recommendations on the opioid crisis, ACA CEO Richard Yep has written to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee concerning the role counselors play in fighting the opioid crisis. Mr. Yep highlighted the need for reimbursing counselors through Medicare to help seniors who may have been receiving counseling using Medicaid but can no longer afford it when they transition to Medicare.
Mr. Yep's letter says, "The 21st Century CURES Act created the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC). Its membership includes representatives from eight federal departments that support programs related to serious mental illness and non-federal members with expertise across the healthcare sector. In its initial December 2017 report to Congress, ISMICC recommends that Congress “Maximize the Capacity of the Behavioral Health Workforce.” The report identifies the exclusion of Licensed Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists as eligible Medicare providers as a barrier to services and recommends the barrier be removed."
The letter goes on to encourage the passage of S. 1879, The Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act, which would provide Medicare reimbursement to licensed professional counselors. You can read the letter here
Mr. Yep also provided testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee on opioids, counseling, and the importance of passing the House bill that would similarly authorize Medicare reimbursement for counselors, H.R. 3032, You can read his testimony here
You can contact your Members of Congress about supporting these bills by entering your zip code on this page
to look up their contact information. Ask your Senators to support S.1879 and your House Member to support H.R. 3032.