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Pallone and Rodgers Introduce Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Legislation

May 6, 2022
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today introduced legislation to reauthorize key Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs to address the national mental health and substance use disorder crises. The Health Subcommittee will vote on the bipartisan legislation, entitled the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, in a markup next week. 

“The COVID-19 crisis has heightened the need for high quality mental health care and substance use disorder treatment across the nation,” Pallone said. “More than ever, Americans are counting on Congress to ensure that the care and treatment programs they rely upon are available. This bipartisan, comprehensive legislation will help restore hope by bolstering programs that provide the essential support and care millions of Americans need right now. I’m pleased Ranking Member Rodgers and I were able to come to an agreement on this much-needed package that includes many legislative provisions from our Democratic and Republican colleagues, and I look forward to marking it up in the Health Subcommittee next week.” 

"There is a mental health crisis in America, and we all need to be asking the tough questions. Why are more people in despair and suffering from severe mental illness? Why are drug overdose deaths at record highs? And, how did school shutdowns and COVID-19 restrictions based on fear make our children feel more broken and alone?” Rodgers said. “My colleagues and I on the Energy and Commerce Committee have been asking these questions and are leading on strong, bipartisan solutions in the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act for communities to provide and support lifesaving care to people in need, especially by focusing resources to young Americans and those suffering from severe mental illness. I thank Chairman Pallone and my colleagues for their thoughtful and diligent work. It won’t end here. We must build on this and do everything we can to turn despair into hope for people and their families again.”

The bipartisan mental health and substance use disorder response package includes provisions that will:

  • Establish a Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office within SAMHSA and require the office to convene partners and provide technical assistance to enhance access to crisis care annually;
  • Address the youth mental health crisis through the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances and the Youth and Family TREE treatment and recovery services programs;
  • Reauthorize critical public health programs to address the nation’s mental health needs, prevent suicide, and support substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. This includes a reauthorization of:
    • The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Suicide Prevention program to provide resources to states, tribes, and campuses to help prevent suicide, focusing on youth and young adults;
    • The Maternal Mental Health Screening and Treatment grant program to enhance maternal mental health and substance use disorder treatment;
    • Grants to support American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities with mental health and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services; and
    • The Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program, which prioritizes resources for the mental and behavioral health care workforce through training grants;
  • Require self-funded, non-federal governmental plans to comply with mental health parity laws; 
  • Improve the integration of evidence-based behavioral health care into primary care settings for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders;
  • Reauthorize the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access grant program to improve the integration of pediatric primary care providers with behavioral health providers via telehealth. HRSA currently supports programs in 45 states, territories, and tribes, and this reauthorization will ensure that every state that wants to establish a program is able to do so; and
  • Direct SAMHSA to assess flexibilities provided to Opioid Treatment Programs during the COVID-19 public health emergency and increase access to treatment services.

Legislative text is available HERE.

A Section-by-Section is available HERE