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Tonko backing bill to increase mental health services funding

May 25, 2021 5:30 am

Nick Reisman is reporting for State of Politics federal lawmakers on May 24, announced a plan to expand mental health and behavioral health services under the Medicaid program with a proposal to increase the federal reimbursement rate. The bill, backed by Democrat U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, would increase reimbursement rates to states for mental health programs for states to 90 percent, up from the current rates of between 50 percent and 75 percent. The proposal comes along just as mental health programs are under considerable strain. Mental health providers have pointed to an increase in needs for people struggling with the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rise in drug overdose deaths and other so-called deaths of despair associated with mental health problems. “The devastating toll of the COVID crisis has put a spotlight on an urgent unmet need for mental health services, yet even now countless Americans are struggling to get the help they need," Tonko said in a statement. The bill backed by Tonko would also require that reports be issued on the impact of the increase in payment rates and how services are being used. Read the full story at nystateofpolitics [dot] com.