A quick update on the bills arising from our CAC legislative forums in December (with our thanks to Rep. McCarthy-Vahey, D-Fairfield, for sponsoring them!):
HB 6887 (click here), an act to expand insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse services, continues to move ahead! Following 2 committee hearings and a public hearing with lots of testimony, on March 3rd the Insurance Committee voted to draft a full bill. The revised bill's language focuses on insurance coverage for nonmedical services performed by certified peer support specialists. The case management section has been left out--perhaps for us to take up again at a future legislative session. Join us at CAC 3&4 this Wednesday to discuss the effects of insurance coverage for peer support!
HB 6483 (click here), an act to establish a task force to make recommendations for addressing the impending shortages in the psychiatric workforce, also moved out of committee into a public hearing. At the hearing, the bill concept received supportive testimony from major psychiatric, hospital and nursing associations in the state, not to mention individual providers and advocates around the state. Senator Gerratana, one of the committee co-chairs, asked SWRMHB Executive Director Margaret Watt to suggest names for the task force. Today (March 6th), the Public Health Committee voted to draft a full bill based on the concept. We believe a task force is needed because stakeholders will need to discuss and negotiate a range of solutions which could encompass loan forgiveness and incentive programs; telepsychiatry; a reenvisioning of the role of psychopharmacology; a reexamination of the scopes of practice of various professionals and peers; and more.
Stay tuned for more details!