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S. 3688: Improving Access to Tele-Behavioral Health Services Act


The text of the bill below is as of Feb 17, 2022 (Introduced).


II

117th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3688

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 17, 2022

(for himself, Ms. Stabenow, and Mr. Padilla) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to facilitate the funding of community-based mental health and substance use disorder services and peer support programs, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Improving Access to Tele-Behavioral Health Services Act.

2.

Awards for community-based mental health and substance use disorder services and peer support programs

(a)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in this section as the Secretary), acting through the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, shall establish a program (in this Act referred to as the Program) to facilitate the funding of community-based mental health and substance use disorder services and peer support programs, including services provided virtually.

(b)

Award authority

In carrying out the Program, the Secretary shall award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements in accordance with this section.

(c)

Eligible recipients

The Secretary may make an award under the Program to an eligible recipient determined by the Secretary to be authorized and capable of carrying out a project described in subsection (d).

(d)

Use of funds

Funds awarded under the Program may be used to—

(1)

identify and coordinate care between programs that provide access to community-based mental health and substance use disorder services for juveniles and assist in the coordination of such services;

(2)

identify and coordinate care between programs that provide access to community-based mental health and substance use disorder services for adults and assist in the coordination of such services;

(3)

obtain technology required to provide community-based mental health and substance use disorder services virtually, through audio or video telehealth services;

(4)

compensate a health care provider or a peer specialist for the provision of community-based mental health and substance use disorder services, including services provided virtually;

(5)

provide education assistance to an individual seeking certification as a peer specialist;

(6)

provide for workforce development, recruitment, and retention activities, to train, recruit, and retain peer specialists;

(7)

support the provision of peer specialist-facilitated mental health and substance use disorder support services on a virtual platform by an entity that, prior to the award, was providing such services in-person; or

(8)

expand or improve virtual, peer specialist-facilitated mental health and substance use disorder support services carried out by the entity prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

(e)

Applications

To be eligible for an award under the Program, an eligible recipient shall submit to the Secretary an application in such form, at such time, and containing such information as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(f)

Guidance

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue guidance on the requirements an eligible recipient shall take to provide community-based mental health and substance use disorder services.

(g)

Supplement not supplant

Federal funds awarded to an eligible recipient pursuant to the Program shall be used to supplement, but not supplant, any other Federal, State, or local funds available to such eligible recipient.

(h)

Report

(1)

Report

Not later than 90 days after the date on which funds are distributed under the Program, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the Program that includes—

(A)

the number of awards made under the Program;

(B)

the physical location of each awardee selected under the Program;

(C)

the amount requested and amount awarded for each award under the Program; and

(D)

whether funds were used during the COVID–19 public health emergency.

(2)

Publication requirement

On the date on which a report is submitted under paragraph (1) or (2), the Secretary shall publish such report on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services.

(i)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out the Program $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2027.

(j)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

COVID–19 public health emergency

The term COVID–19 public health emergency means the public health emergency declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d) on January 27, 2020, with respect to COVID–19.

(2)

Eligible recipient

The term eligible recipient means—

(A)

a department of health or a department of public health, in coordination with a State;

(B)

a nonprofit health program that primarily serves individuals with mental health or substance abuse disorders;

(C)

community-based nonprofit entity, that is a consumer-controlled and is certified in accordance with applicable State law to deliver peer specialist support services at a State or local level;

(D)

an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)), providing service learning and civic-engagement courses for peer specialist training;

(E)

a State or local law enforcement agency or other State first responder agency; or

(F)

an Indian Tribe or Tribal organization.

(3)

Health care provider

The term health care provider means a certified provider who provides mental health and substance use disorder services.

(4)

Indian Tribe; Tribal organization

The terms Indian Tribe and Tribal organization have the meanings given the terms Indian tribe and tribal organization in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304).

(5)

Peer specialist

The term peer specialist includes—

(A)

a certified peer specialist;

(B)

a peer recovery specialist; and

(C)

a recovery coach.

(6)

State

The term State means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States, or an Indian Tribe.