Testimony provided to the Senate Finance Commitee by HRPA American Health Policy Institute President Mark Wilson on March 30, 2022

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Quotes from Testimony

“To achieve mental health parity compliance, Congress should: Encourage DOL to publish the guidance required by the CAA and additional de-identified examples of comparative parity analyses that are compliant under a final determination letter; and focus on fostering partnerships between employers, providers, and carriers rather than punitive legislative provisions which further push stakeholders into their respective corners.”

“To increase access to behavioral health services the Association urges Congress to enact the bipartisan Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner Act (H.R. 5218) to promote the uptake of the collaborative care model by providing grant funding to remove the barriers that primary care practices face when trying to implement the model.”

“Behavioral health providers are health care practitioners or social and human services providers who offer services for the purpose of treating mental disorders including: psychiatrists, clinical social workers, psychologists. The stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders results in patients not seeking treatment and even when they do, it can be difficult to find a provider in a timely manner. The collaborative care model provides a strong building block to address these problems by ensuring that patients can receive expeditious behavioral health treatment within the office of their primary care physician. Importantly, the team members also use measurement-based care to ensure that patients are progressing, and when they are not, treatment is adjusted.”

“To help improve access to behavioral health care when Americans need it Congress should eliminate restrictions that impede an employer’s ability to provide employees with telehealth services. During the COVID pandemic, telehealth became the preferred way for patients to see providers and liberalized telehealth rules resulted in an exponential growth in the use of telehealth, particularly telebehavioral health. It allowed access to needed care while meeting patients’ needs of convenience and safety as the virus spread.”

Mark Wilson, President & CEO, HR Policy Institute