September 22,2021

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Taylor Harvey (202) 224-4515

Wyden, Crapo Solicit Policy Proposals to Address Unmet Mental Health Needs

In Letter to Behavioral Health Care Stakeholders, Finance Leaders Seek Input to Aid Bipartisan Policy Development

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, today launched an effort to develop bipartisan legislation to address barriers to mental health care as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened alarming trends in Americans’ mental health.

“Far too often, individuals across the country struggle to access timely, quality mental health care and substance use disorder services, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated unmet behavioral health care needs,” Wyden and Crapo wrote. “Today, we seek input from stakeholders across the health care continuum to help us better understand how Congress can address these challenges. Our goal is to develop a bipartisan legislative package before the end of the year addressing many of the behavioral health care challenges currently faced by millions of Americans.” 

The letter requests evidence-based solutions and ideas to enhance behavioral health care in the following areas:

  • Strengthening the workforce
  • Increasing integration, coordination and access to care
  • Ensuring parity between behavioral and physical health care
  • Furthering the use of telehealth
  • Improving access to behavioral health care for children and young people

In May the Finance Committee held a hearing to examine what can be done to improve mental health and substance use treatment. Last month, Wyden and Crapo launched the Finance Committee’s bipartisan legislative effort to improve behavioral health care in a letter to all members of the committee. This letter, to public and private stakeholders, marks the next step in that process. Responses to the request are due by November 1, 2021. UPDATE: Responses will now be accepted through November 15.

The full letter can be found here