On May 6, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Ranking Members Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) introduced the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 (H.R. 7666). The bill would reauthorize key Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs to address the national mental health and substance use disorder crisis and support key county priorities to advance policies that provide comprehensive behavioral health services to our residents.
If enacted, the bill would:
- Establish a Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office within SAMHSA that would convene partners and provide technical assistance to enhance access to crisis care annually
- Reauthorize the Screening and Treatment for Maternal Health and Substance Use Disorders Grant Program, which provides resources to pregnant and postpartum women at risk of or affected by maternal mental health and substance use disorders
- Reauthorize the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances Grant Program and other grant programs for adolescent treatment and recovery services
- Reauthorize the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (CMHS) and the Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant (SAPT) that aim to address the nation’s mental health needs, prevent suicide, and support substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery support services
- Require self-funded, non-federal governmental plans to comply with mental health parity laws
- Improve the integration of evidence-based behavioral health care into primary care settings for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders
- Reauthorize the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Grant Program to improve the integration of pediatric primary care providers with behavioral health providers via telehealth
- Direct SAMHSA to assess current flexibilities for opioid treatment programs during the COVID-19 public health emergency and increase access to treatment services
In response to the package, NACo sent a letter to the committee that included recommendations that lawmakers should include in a final bill that would further enhance behavioral health services at the county level.
The Health Subcommittee is expected to vote on this bipartisan legislation this week, which is expected to advance to the full House for a vote. NACo will continue to monitor any developments on this legislation.