Advocacy alert: Case management & peer support services
Have you or a loved one struggled with finding help for a mental illness or addiction, but been unable to access care coordination/case management due to your insurance?
Have you or a family member benefited from care coordination services after trying to navigate the behavioral health system on your own?
Are you a provider who loses money when you help coordinate client care because the service isn't reimbursed?
Are you a person with lived experience who is trained to provide peer support but can't find employment?
Is your agency interested in hiring peer support specialists and could do so if their services were reimbursable?
Is your agency already using peer support specialists and can speak to the benefits, including cost benefits?
If so, or if you have any other expertise to offer, please plan to make your voice heard next week on House Bill 6887, AN ACT EXPANDING COVERAGE FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES.
This bill would require insurance coverage for case management services and for peer support services. It was put forward by Rep. Cristin McCarthy-Vahey (D-Fairfield) following discussions with CAC members from Southwest CT. This could be a big opportunity to expand access, increase employment for peers, provide better care and better engagement, and decrease total costs--but everyone will need to speak up!
The Insurance Committee is holding a public hearing on the bill on Thursday 2/16 to gather information from members of the public about why these services matter, including whether they would benefit CT residents and whether they would save money. Your testimony matters! Here are 2 ways you can make your voice heard:
Speak in person at the Insurance Committee Public Hearing on Thursday, February 16th at 10am in room 2D at the Legislative Office Building, Hartford. You will have 3 minutes to testify and can also provide your comments in writing. Be sure to practice so you can stay within the time frame! Your written comments can be longer.
Email your written comments prior to the hearing to INStestimony@cga.ct.gov. Copies will be distributed to the committee members and also posted online.
Here's a template for offering testimony before the Insurance Committee:
Testimony before the Insurance Committee
February 10, 2017
Good morning, Senator Kelly, Senator Larson, Representative Scanlon, and distinguished members of the Insurance Committee:
My name is ____________ and I am a resident of _______________. I am here to speak on HB 6887, An Act Expanding Coverage for Mental Health Care Services and Substance Abuse Services.
[Then explain whether you are in favor of the bill or against it, and why. Provide any details, whether personal, professional, or research-based, that support your position. You are encouraged to comment on how you would see this working, since at this time the bill is very general. (For example, you could comment on the credentials you feel would be necessary for the case manager/care coordinator, or the types of services you believe should be reimbursed when provided by a peer specialist.)
NOTE: If you want to support one part of the bill but not the other, just be clear which part you are speaking about.]
I urge you to support important services for people with mental health and/or sustance use disorders.
Thank you for considering my perspective.