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National News

Cortez Masto, Cornyn team up on mobile mental health services legislation

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Camalot Todd, Nevada Current
January 19, 2024

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn this week introduced a bipartisan bill to increase Medicare payment rates for mobile mental health services.

The Medicare Mobile Crisis Improvement Act would allow Medicare to cover most or all costs of a patient’s care during behavioral health crises.

The legislation “builds on the progress we’ve made by making sure mobile crisis teams can help more Americans experiencing a crisis, no matter where they are,” Cortez Masto said in a joint statement announcing the legislation.

Cortez Masto and Cornyn have cooperated on the issue in the past, and successfully got funding for mobile mental health services included in an omnibus spending bill that was enacted at the end of 2022. Their legislation announced this week aims to build on that.

Mobile Crisis provides emergency care to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Programs have existed in the U.S. since the 1960s, with research showing that mobile crisis alleviates stressors in emergency rooms and diverts people struggling with mental and behavioral health conditions away from the criminal justice system.

“Mobile crisis teams play an invaluable role in helping de-escalate and support those who may be struggling with their mental health or substance abuse,” Cornyn said. “This legislation would ensure Medicare providers can be reimbursed for their life-saving care and help stop costs from being the reason individuals in a mental health crisis don’t receive the medical attention they need.”

The exact reimbursement rate would be determined after the bill is passed and implemented.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. If passed it would take effect on January 1, 2025.

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This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.