U.S. Representatives Torres and Burgess’s Improving Mental Health and Drug Treatment Act Included in the Minibus Spending Deal

Mar 08, 2024
In the News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S Representatives Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) released the following statement regarding the Improving Mental Health and Drug Treatment Act being included in the minibus spending deal under Section 204 – Extension of State Option to Provide Medical Assistance for Certain Individuals in Institutions for Mental Diseases.

The Improving Mental Health and Drug Treatment Act’s inclusion in the health extender section of the minibus will lift the IMD Exclusion, make the state plan amendment option permanent to finance, and provide Medicaid-covered services to individuals who have a substance use disorder and reside in an Institute for Mental Diseases (IMD).

“The inclusion of the Improving Mental Health and Drug Treatment Act of 2023 within the health extender section of the Minibus bill is a welcome development that holds great potential for the future of mental health care in this nation,” said U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “We are facing a crisis in which many of those who need care the most — such as those with substance use disorders or severe mental illnesses — lack sufficient resources to access it. I’ve met so many families across the Bronx who’ve been heartbroken by the premature loss of a friend or family member that could have been prevented if only they had been able to afford care. I was proud to work with Rep. Burgess on this legislative solution last year, and its inclusion today demonstrates how working across the aisle on behalf of the American people is still possible in a deeply divided Congress.”

“Our nation is struggling with a substance use epidemic and mental health crisis, resulting in thousands of American lives being lost every single day. Allocating resources and expanding access to care should be the highest priority, and it is critical to act intentionally,” said Congressman Burgess. “Having this bill included in the minibus will provide our communities with the federal support they need to administer Medicaid-covered services and the best quality care for patients struggling with substance use disorders and mental health conditions.”

IMDs are defined as hospitals, nursing facilities, or other institutions of more than 16 beds that are primarily engaged in providing diagnosis, treatment, or care of persons with mental diseases, which includes substance use disorders (SUDs).

Congressman Torres has been a long and steadfast advocate for mental health issues, recognizing the importance of addressing these issues in our communities. This bill represents a significant step forward in his efforts to improve mental health care and support for individuals.

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