As reported by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on legislation to reauthorize federal mental health programs and support mental health and wellbeing, including the AHA-supported Strengthen Kids’ Mental Health Now Act (H.R. 7236).
Among other provisions, H.R. 7236 would increase reimbursement for certain Medicaid pediatric behavioral health services and create grant programs to support pediatric behavioral health care integration, coordination, infrastructure and workforce training.
“We faced a pediatric mental health crisis before COVID, which has only been exacerbated by this pandemic,” noted witness Steven Adelsheim, M.D., a psychiatrist and clinical professor who directs the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing at Stanford Medicine/Stanford Children’s Health. “Today we have a tremendous opportunity as a nation to take the critical steps to recognize the voice, wishes and pleas of our children and families to create the opportunities for mental health access, service, and infrastructure we have needed for so long.”
AHA is a partner in Sound the Alarm for Kids, an initiative urging Congress to enact legislation and increase funding to better support mental health for children and teens.