Baker tries again to demand increased spending on behavioral care – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Governor Charlie Baker returned to the debate on Tuesday about how to improve access to health care, particularly behavioral health services, with new legislation closely mirroring a proposal he made three years ago. to increase spending on mental health and primary care.

Baker visited Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester to roll out the bill which he said he expects to get a “pretty solid and meaningful” look at from Beacon Hill lawmakers over the next four months as they pursue their own strategies to address concerns about access. and the cost of the health care system.

Legislation, such as the 2019 Governor’s Bill, would require providers and health insurers to increase behavioral health and primary care spending by 30% over three years, as part of the government’s cost containment structure. ‘State.

“If you don’t spend the money, you won’t get the participation,” Baker said, explaining how Medicare’s base reimbursement rates are currently incentivizing medical school graduates to pursue careers in high-end specialties. range where they can make more money.

By increasing mental health and primary care spending, Baker said Massachusetts can realign its health care industry to better serve patients before they seek emergency care for health issues. more acute.

The governor’s bill would also encourage insurers to reimburse certain behavioral health services at the same rates as physical health care, reform the small group insurance market to make more affordable plans available to employers. and their workers, and to expand the scope of practice for certain providers, which Baker did by executive order during the pandemic and is now seeking to materialize in law.

“The pandemic has only underscored the need to treat behavioral health care services the same way we treat other health care services,” Baker said.

The Senate has already passed a mental health access bill this session that awaits action in the House, while Speaker Rom Mariano has prioritized House-approved legislation to strengthen public oversight. ‘State of Hospital Extensions.

Baker said there’s been “a lot of back and forth” between his administration and top Democrats on the issues addressed in his bill, giving him hope that something can be done before the end of the official legislative session on July 31.

(Copyright (c) 2022 State House News Service.

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