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Rep. Rosendale Introduces Expanding Access To Mental Health Services Act

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Representative Rosendale introduced the Expanding Access to Mental Health Services Act, which would permanently broaden mental health options, including intake examinations and therapy, via telehealth for Americans on Medicare.

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare offered limited options for telehealth, and during the pandemic the Trump administration temporarily expanded telehealth options to help those who were vulnerable to COVID-19 maintain access to the medical treatment they needed. This bill would expand Medicare telehealth options indefinitely and allow individuals to receive the mental health care services they may need via video and telephone.

Last year, approximately 45,000 people committed suicide nationwide, and Montana ranks among the top five states with the highest suicide rates in the nation. Due to Montana’s vast rural terrain, hundreds of Montanans struggling with suicidal thoughts and other mental health disorders do not have easy access to the care they desperately need. With the expansion of mental health treatment, people in need would gain an additional lifeline.

“With today’s technology and resources, telehealth should be a viable option for those who have difficulty getting to the doctor’s office and for those living in rural communities,” Representative Rosendale said. “Those in need of mental health assistance should have more access to receive treatment than just the traditional visit to a physician. More accessibility to treatment will help save lives and improve the well-being of Americans.”

“Thanks to federal emergency actions, health care providers are delivering critically important mental health services to millions of Americans through telehealth. Representative Matt Rosendale’s common sense proposal will ensure patients throughout the nation can enjoy these essential services long after this pandemic ends. Expanding telehealth is part of how Congress can give Americans a personal option that increases access to quality care from the comfort and safety of their own homes.” - Charlie Katebi, Health Policy Analyst, Americans for Prosperity