Press Release

April 22, 2022
Cardin, Thune Introduce Legislation To Expand Access To Mental Health Services
Senators’ Bipartisan Legislation Would Promote Mental Health Telemedicine Services for Kids and Underserved Populations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), introduced the Medicaid Ensuring Necessary Telehealth is Available Long-term (MENTAL) Health for Kids and Underserved Act. This bipartisan legislation would direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue guidance to states on options to increase access to behavioral health services and treatment via telehealth for children and underserved Americans.

The MENTAL Health for Kids and Underserved Act would require CMS to provide guidance to states on how they can increase access to mental and behavioral health services and treatment via telehealth under Medicaid and CHIP. Additionally, it would request guidance on how states can furnish behavioral services and treatments in school-based settings, including full service community schools, and best practices for integration. The bill focuses on those most at risk including underserved Americans and school-aged children.

The copy of the bill text can be found here.