Rosenberg, Marshall among Witnesses at Senate Finance Committee's MH Hearing

NYAPRS Note: Last Thursday, the United States Senate Finance Committee convened a hearing to discuss the nation’s mental health care system. A handful of witnesses included Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, and Brandon Marshall, NFL superstar and chairman/co-founder of Project 375.

In her testimony, Rosenberg articulated the need for better access to services, science-based care, and integration of primary care and behavioral health. You may read her full statement HERE.

Marshall’s testimony was centered on Project 375’s mission to combat mental health stigma. Having received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder in 2011, he discussed his experiences with a mental health condition and his desire to help others “step into the light.” You may read his full statement HERE.

Senate Committee Holds Mental Health Hearing, Linda Rosenberg Testifies

By Michael Petruzzelli National Council April 28, 2016

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee convened a hearing to discuss the status of mental health in America. Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, testified before the Committee, highlighting the challenges facing the behavioral health system and how the Excellence in Mental Health Act and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) can and should be the answer.

“But it’s not just access—we need uniform high-quality services. Unfortunately, the adoption of research based practice is limited,” said Rosenberg. “CCBHCs can move the needle. They’re required to offer evidence-based services and are paid a rate inclusive of these activities. Through outcome tracking and quality bonus payments, clinics will be held accountable for patients’ progress – a critical step in our nation’s move to value based purchasing.” Read her full statement here.

Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) opened the hearing calling on his colleagues to do what’s best for both patients and providers. “Across the nation families struggle with mental health illnesses that often times rob them of parents, siblings, children and friends,” Hatch said. “To combat these serious issues, we should explore ways to provide care in the interest of both patients and providers.”

Highlights of the hearing included: an in-depth discussion about the expansion of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration program, debate over a potential alleviation of a Medicaid payment prohibition for residential substance use treatment organizations and an overall discussion of congressional efforts to fund prevention, treatment and recovery supports in the FY2017 budget.

The remainder of the witness panel included: Brandon Marshall, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Project 375; Dr. Margaret Bennington-Davis, Chief Medical Officer, Health Share of Oregon; and Douglas P. Thomas, Director, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, State of Utah.


NFL Wide Receiver Tells Lawmakers About Mental Illness Stigma

By Caitlin Owens Morning Consult April 28, 2016

Brandon Marshall, a wide receiver for the New York Jets, testified before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on mental health on Thursday.

Marshall is also the chairman and co-founder of Project 375, a nonprofit dedicating to reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. Marshall was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011 after years of struggling with mental illness.

He said that stigma kept him from getting treatment earlier. “The impact of stigma in the mental health community, and the critical need to make it easier for people to get assessed and treated and be able to lead a normal, fulfilled life,” Marshall said in prepared remarks.

Several committees have been examining mental health, a topic which lies in across different jurisdictions. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passed a bipartisan bill last month. The Judiciary Committee has also worked on mental health legislation.

Many lawmakers have expressed a desire to address the Medicaid IMD exclusion, which lies in the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction. The exclusion limits certain reimbursements for mental health inpatients in the program. However, it costs somewhere between $40 and $80 billion to address.

The topic didn’t come up.