November 24, 2021

Senator Hassan Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Improve Care for Americans with Serious Mental Health Challenges

Bill Would Remove Arbitrary Cap on Inpatient Psychiatric Care that Disproportionately Harms Non-Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan cosponsored a bipartisan bill to improve mental health care for Americans by permanently repealing Medicare’s 190-day lifetime limit for inpatient psychiatric care. The bipartisan Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (D-MN).

 

“Americans with serious mental health challenges need consistent care in order to manage their conditions and participate fully in their communities,” Senator Hassan said. “For patients on Medicare who experience severe mental health challenges, hitting the 190-day cap for inpatient psychiatric care can be devastating to their progress and their health. We should repeal this arbitrary cap, which disproportionality harms young people on Medicare, and ensure that all Americans can access the mental health support that they need.”

 

The Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act would remove the 190-day lifetime limit on inpatient psychiatric hospital services under Medicare. This lifetime limit does not apply to psychiatric units in general hospitals, and eliminating it was a recommendation of the 2016 White House Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force.

 

Most Medicare beneficiaries treated in psychiatric hospitals qualify because of a disability. Consequently, the current restriction disproportionately impacts non-elderly Medicare beneficiaries—mainly those living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who may be diagnosed at a younger age and be eligible for Medicare as a result.

 

Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to expand access to mental health care for Granite Staters and Americans. The President recently signed into law a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Senator Hassan to authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a pilot program on dog training therapy and provide service dogs to veterans with mental health challenges. Senator Hassan recently introduced a bipartisan bill to improve maternal mental health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum patients, including working to address postpartum depression and anxiety, and maternal suicide – which is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States. Senator Hassan also introduced the bipartisan Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to improve the way patients receive care for mental illness in emergency departments. 

  

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