Sending Office: Honorable Alcee L. Hastings
Cosponsor of the Outpatient Mental Health Modernization Act of 2019
Original Cosponsor: Sheila Jackson Lee, Debbie Dingell
Endorsing Organization: National Association for Behavioral Healthcare
Medicare Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) provide a structured and clinically intensive alternative to hospitalization for patients who otherwise might require sustained inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. PHP psychiatric patients typically receive
four to six hours of treatment per day, five to six days a week in hospital-based settings and community mental health centers. However, the severity of a patient’s illness often prevents that individual from obtaining or seeking transportation to a PHP facility,
or from accessing high quality food even though some psychiatric medications that are prescribed to the patient cannot be safely administered without food.
Currently, Medicare does not cover the costs of nutritional planning, meals or transportation for patients who receive psychiatric treatment in PHP programs. This leaves PHP facilities responsible for the cost of providing food and transportation at a time
when PHPs are experiencing significant budget restraints. Medicare also does not provide for vocational counseling. However, this counseling provides a direction for patients that they might not find on their own and will allow them to set employment goals
and develop a plan to meet those goals.
This bill requires Medicare to reimburse PHPs for providing transportation, food, nutritional services and vocational counseling to those who need it the most. The bill also establishes a Behavioral Health Advisory Committee in which a diverse group of
behavioral health stakeholders would examine and provide recommendations on how to address the persisting challenges of access, stigma, quality and operability in the mental health delivery system.
PHPs are a cost effective alternative that can prevent mentally ill individuals from facing expensive inpatient care, incarceration, or institutionalization. The growing role of mental health PHPs in our health care system requires that we amend the law
to assist PHPs in delivering the services, care and support to those who are living with severe and chronic mental illness.
If you would like to become a co-sponsor or have any additional questions regarding this important legislation, please contact Jacque Hlavin in my office at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 5-1313.
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
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