Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Connecting Our Medical Providers with Links to Expand Tailored and Effective (COMPLETE) Care Act to improve access to mental health and substance use disorder care for Americans across the country. This legislation would improve access to timely, effective mental health care in the primary care setting by helping providers with the cost of implementing integrated care models.
“This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will help make sure Nevadans can access mental health services at their primary care physician’s office without having to jump through extra hoops,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “We need to do more to expand mental health care across the U.S., and I’ll keep pushing my colleagues to make sure we can deliver faster, more comprehensive care when people need it.”
“Integrating mental health care within primary care would make it easier for those battling depression, anxiety, and substance abuse to access the treatment they need,” said Senator Cornyn. “Our bill would encourage primary care providers to collaborate with behavioral health care providers to increase access to mental health care for patients, and I’m grateful to Senator Cortez Masto for her partnership on this important issue.”
“Families across the country are struggling to access needed mental health and substance use disorder services, too often with great difficulty. We must advance innovative models of integrated care that will meet the demand of this crisis,” said American Psychiatric Association CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “The APA applauds Senators Cortez Masto and Cornyn for introducing the COMPLETE Care Act, which will provide an incentive for primary care providers to integrate timely treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in their practice.”
“We know from both a wealth of research and psychologists’ daily experiences that the Primary Care Behavioral Health model improves access to care and treatment outcomes, and can reduce overall costs,” said American Psychological Association Services CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD. “APA Services applauds Senators Cortez Masto and Cornyn for introducing this important legislation.”
Specifically, the COMPLETE Act would enhance Medicare payment rates for behavioral health integration services to help providers with the startup costs of implementing integrated care models.
Mental health services are often geographically distant from patients, have high out-of-pocket treatment costs, and lack coordination with the rest of medicine. The COMPLETE Act helps to address these issues by helping providers adopt evidence-based integrated delivery models such as the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) and the Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) Model. By coordinating care between health professionals, these team-based models have been proven to increase access to mental health care, reduce wait times for treatments, and improve patient outcomes.
The COMPLETE Care Act is supported by the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association Services, Inc., Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, and Shatterproof.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a leader in the Senate on mental health issues. She helped implement and fund the nation’s 988 Suicide & Crisis lifeline, and passed bipartisan legislation to expand behavioral health crisis support services. She successfully fought to include $1 billion to support mental health services in schools in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that passed Congress this summer. Last year, she secured $950,000 to help Clark County School District better support students recovering from substance use disorder and mental health struggles and $1,337,000 for a Nevada State College training facility for students who are preparing to become school psychologists.