Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) has introduced the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act, which will eliminate an arbitrary cap on mental health services which has served as a barrier to individuals seeking treatment.

“Every community throughout the country has been struggling with the same challenge: providing quality mental health care to individuals experiencing mental illness,” Emmer said. “The current public health crisis has only exacerbated the need for mental health care. The federal government has instituted a limitation to care that has no regard for a doctor’s recommendation for proper care. As a result, many individuals are left out in the cold, and often face law enforcement or end up in emergency rooms when we could be addressing their mental health challenges. This legislation would be an important step in addressing one of the many barriers to ensuring access to mental health care.”

Under current law, mental health care treatment is limited at some facilities due to the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion. Because of the IMD exclusion, caps are placed on the number of beds provided for patients, and the number of days a patient can receive care. Medicaid managed care, for instance, limits care for patients in an IMD to 15 days. This cap has harmed proper mental health care treatment and unnecessarily harmed the establishment of new mental health facilities.

Specifically, the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act would eliminate the 15-day cap for Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) and Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan (PIHP) beneficiaries receiving care in an IMD. This would allow individuals to receive care for the appropriate amount of time required to treat their mental illness.

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