In a 26-0 vote, the Senate Finance Committee Nov. 8 reported the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act, bipartisan legislation that includes AHA-supported provisions to improve access to behavioral health care and delay Medicaid disproportionate share hospital reductions.

The AHA-supported provisions would provide Medicare incentives to integrate behavioral health and primary care; delay certain Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payment reductions for two years; and permanently grant state Medicaid programs the option to receive federal matching payments for substance use disorder treatment provided in certain institutions for mental diseases. The legislation also would ensure timely communication regarding telehealth and interstate licensure requirements, and extend certain Medicare payment provisions for physicians and clinical laboratory services.

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