Mental health legislation introduced by a bipartisan group of seven senators would establish criteria for the designation of healthcare facilities as Federally Qualified Community Behavioral Health Centers, giving them the type of Medicaid prospective payment system reimbursement that Federally Qualified Health Centers receive. The bill also would back the modernization of existing community mental health centers and the construction of new ones.
The bill would aim to address some concerns about the country's mental healthcare that were raised by the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and would also improve access to mental healthcare for veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a news release from the senators sponsoring the bill. The sponsors are: Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).