Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate would improve access to mental health services and permit Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC’s) to be reimbursed by Medicare. In the Senate, the Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act, S. 1879 was introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). In the House of Representatives, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, H.R. 3032 was introduced by Representative John Katko (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).
The Defense, Labor HHS- Education package will provide $1.17 billion dollars for Title IV-A, The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant Program (SSAE) for FY 19. This is a $70 million increase over FY18. Among other things, the grants fund activities that make up a well-rounded education, including those that expand access to, or coordinate resources for, important school-based mental health services and supports. These activities may include the development of critical tools such as trauma-informed practices and the establishment and maintenance of school counseling and bullying-prevention programs.
Congress has been working on a new package of measures to address the opioid crisis, the SUPPORT For Patients and Communities Act, H.R. 6
Licensed professional counselors have an important role in counseling veterans. ACA continues to work to expand that role and advocate for counselors who work for the VA and with TRICARE.
There is federal funding available for student loans and for counseling services in many settings. ACA works to expand those programs and keep members apprised of the opportunities to apply for these grants.