Mental health, substance use & recovery

Senator Friedman has sponsored the following bills relative to mental health, substance use and recovery in the 2019-2020 legislative session:

S588 An Act relative to mental health parity implementation

  • Summary: This bill would help to ensure parity in insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorder care by: (1) improving enforcement through enhanced carrier self-reporting; (2) addressing barriers created by insurers such as onerous and time-consuming approval processes; (3) applying parity across payers, including the Group Insurance Commission and MassHealth; and (4) ensuring consistent and fair application of medical necessity criteria.

S589 An Act relative to limits on insurers’ retroactive clawbacks for mental health and substance use disorder services

  • Summary: This bill would place limits on insurers’ retroactive “clawbacks” of claims payments to behavioral health, mental health, and substance use disorder care providers.

S590 An Act to require health care coverage for the emergency psychiatric services

  • Summary: This bill would redefine emergency psychiatric services (ESPs) as “all programs subject to contract between the mass behavioral health partnership and nonprofit organizations for the provision of said emergency services.” This new definition would require commercial insurance companies, which provide hospital expense and surgical expense insurance, to also provide benefits for medically necessary behavioral health emergency services provided by ESPs around the state on a nondiscriminatory basis.

S593 An Act to promote the accessibility, quality and continuity of care for consumers of behavioral health, substance use disorder and mental health services

  • Summary: This bill would give health care professionals who provide behavioral health, substance use disorder, and mental health services the authority to collectively bargain with insurance carriers and behavioral health managers, without the worry of violating current antitrust laws.

S685 An Act relative to accountable care

  • Summary: This bill would require all accountable care organizations (ACOs) that contract with MassHealth or its managed care entities, to file an annual public report of their pre-ACO baseline expenditures as well as their current spending on behavioral health services, primary care, acute care costs, emergency services, pharmacy, and other specialties as MassHealth deems appropriate. This legislation would also require that eligibility and enrollment data for Community Partner coordination services be provided.

S941 An Act relative to improving access to emergency treatment plans

  • Summary: This bill would improve access to emergency treatment plans, commonly referred to as Rogers Orders, which are used to order anti-psychotic treatment for incapacitated persons when the court finds (using the substituted judgment standard) that the person, if he or she were not incapacitated, would consent to such treatment. The legislation would improve access to these plans by requiring a quicker timeline for hearings and decisions, creating a detailed treatment plan, assigning a treatment monitor to oversee the treatment plan, and establishing a process to return to court in the event of treatment non-compliance.

S942 An Act provide critical community services

  • Summary: This bill would create a new process to involuntarily commit an adult individual with a mental illness to community-based mental health services and supports (called “critical community health services”). Criteria for eligibility would include a history of lack of compliance with treatment for mental illness and a finding that the individual is at substantial risk of inflicting serious harm to himself or others and has shown an inability to provide for basic physical needs, including medical and psychiatric treatment and shelter.

S1144 An Act relative to mental health peer specialists certification

  • Summary: This bill would create a commission to study the scope of mental health peer support programs to determine the appropriate training and certification requirements necessary for such programs.

S1145 An Act ensuring access to addiction services

  • Summary: This bill would require that all Section 35 involuntary civil commitment beds for substance use disorder (SUD), for men and women, be in facilities approved by the Department of Public Health (DPH) or the Department of Mental Health (DMH), and not in correctional facilities. It would also require that people with SUD who are civilly committed under Section 35 be treated as patients, not as criminals.

S1146 An Act to provide more timely treatment of inpatient mental health care

  • Summary: This bill would help protect and improve access to inpatient psychiatric care in Massachusetts by addressing a number of areas: (1) requiring the Department of Mental Health (DMH) regulations to take into consideration physician supply issues for inpatient mental health facilities; (2) requiring that second opinions be sought and conducted more quickly; (3) preventing delays in scheduling commitment hearings; and (4) creating an expedited process for children under the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF)  care who are hospitalized in inpatient psychiatric hospitals and in need of anti-psychotic medication.

S1147 An Act relative to a behavioral health workforce commission

  • Summary: This bill would create a Behavioral Health Workforce Commission composed of state officials, and well as provider and consumer groups to both study workforce needs and identify reasons for the current shortages in inpatient and community-based settings.

S1148 An Act relative to medical necessity for mental health acute treatment

  • Summary: This bill would mandate coverage for mental health acute treatment and stabilization services, similar to what was mandated for addiction treatment in Chapter 258 of the Acts of 2014. It would also ensure that medical necessity for services provided to patients in the midst of a mental health crisis will be determined by the treating clinician in consultation with the patient, not by an insurance company.

S1263 An Act relative to a special commission on support group model integration in health care

  • Summary: This bill would establish a special legislative commission to study and make recommendations on the integration of peer support groups into the healthcare system.