Mental health, substance use & recovery

Senator Friedman has sponsored the following bill relative to mental health, substance use and recovery in the 2017-2018 legislative session:

S2219 Medically necessary mental health acute treatment and crisis stabilization services

  • Summary: N/A

Senator Friedman is taking the lead on the following bills that were originally filed by the late Senator Ken Donnelly at the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session:

S517 An Act relative to transparency for mental health parity

  • Summary: This bill would require insurers that deny mental health coverage to articulate why they have denied mental health coverage.

S614 An Act to promote the accessibility, quality and continuity of care for consumers of behavioral health, substance use disorder and mental health services

  • Summary: Currently, private practice clinicians are unable to collaborate with other clinicians to negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of themselves or their clients. This bill would allow clinicians to negotiate rates and reimbursements and determination of care by suspending certain anti-trust laws.

S833 An Act relative to improving access to emergency treatment plans

  • Summary: This bill would improve access to emergency treatment plans, commonly called “Roger’s Orders”. These treatment plans are used to order anti-psychotic treatment for incapacitated persons when the court finds, using the substituted judgment standard, that the person, if not incapacitated, would consent to such treatment.

S1086 An Act to require health care coverage for the emergency psychiatric services

  • Summary: This bill would require commercial insurance companies to pay for behavioral health emergency services provided by emergency services providers (ESP) across the state. Currently, people on MassHealth are covered by ESPs but many people with private health insurance do not have access to ESPs.

S1087 An Act to provide critical community services

  • Summary: This bill would require the state to provide services and treatment to a person who is gravely ill, has been hospitalized or jailed twice within the last 36 months or who has had an episode of serious violent behavior in the last 36 months due to their illness, has a history of mental illness, has been non-compliant, and is likely to get worse without help, but is likely to get better with services.

S1088 An Act to provide more timely treatment of inpatient mental health care

  • Summary: This bill would direct the Department of Mental Health to establish procedures and professional standards for the reception, examination, treatment, restraint, transfer and discharge of mentally ill persons in department facilities in a manner consistent with available physician resources and in accordance with national standards for providing evening and night coverage for hospitals.

S1089 An Act relative to mental health peer specialists certification

  • Summary: This bill would require the Division of Medical Assistance to provide medical assistance to cover mental health certified peers specialists services, provided that the certified peer specialist has completed training as certified by the Department of Mental Health.

S1091 An Act establishing a restoration center in Middlesex County

  • Summary: This bill would create a pilot jail diversion program in Middlesex County for persons who suffer from mental illness and substance use disorder that interact with law enforcement or the court system during the pre-arrest or pre-adjudication phase, with specific emphasis on diverting individuals from lock-up facilities and emergency rooms and into appropriate treatment.

Senator Friedman has co-sponsored the following bills relative to mental health, substance use and recovery:

S582 An Act to limit retroactive denials of health insurance claims for mental health and substance abuse services

  • Summary: Currently, healthcare providers are required to meet billing deadlines and secure prior authorization before providing services to clients in order to receive payment. However, no deadline exists for insurance companies to prevent them from recouping payment from providers for services delivered after the fact. These payments are known as “claw-backs”. This bill would limit MassHealth and commercial health insurers to a 6-month period for recovering payments from a behavioral health provider for behavioral health services completed.

S1081 An Act to authorize public health workers to pursue new measures to reduce harm and stigma for people affected by substance use disorder

  • Summary: This bill would create a “safer drug consumption program” which provides a space for people who use drugs to consume pre–obtained drugs under the supervision of healthcare professionals or other trained staff and may provide other related services, including needle exchange, overdose prevention, and referrals to treatment and other services.

S1103 An Act providing access to full spectrum addiction treatment services

  • Summary: This bill would require up to 30 days insurance coverage for addiction treatment.

S1108 An Act relative to expanding access and safety of mental health services

  • Summary: This bill would add Licensed Mental Health Counselors to the list of clinicians who are allowed to examine an individual to determine if they need assistance under the state’s section 12 and section 35 commitment laws. Currently, physicians, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and independent clinical social workers are allowed to make this determination.