The Senate Finance Committee today held a hearing to examine how to improve access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment and address inequities.
Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, voiced strong support for addressing the crisis in access, which recent reports suggest has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several senators noted the severe shortages in the behavioral health workforce and the need to better integrate physical and behavioral health care. Additionally, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced that she and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., would introduce legislation today to expand the number of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
Witnesses at the hearing included Michelle Durham, M.D., a psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center; the executive director of a CCBHC in rural Oregon; chief strategy officer for Well Being Trust; and a former Medicaid director and mental health commissioner for Arizona.