Despite an increase in anxiety, fear, grief, and addiction related to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the behavioral health system is experiencing significant challenges, according to a statement signed by the American Psychiatric Association and 11 other organizations and sent to Congressional leadership as Congress prepared to approve another round of COVID-related federal funding. The funding under consideration is primarily focused on shoring up existing programs—especially the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program.
Congressional Democrats are hoping to add funding for hospitals, state governments, and a nationwide testing program for COVID-19. APA and the other groups are hoping to alert Congress to the dire need for funding for mental and substance use treatment programs. The coalition said that Congress took preliminary steps to increase funding for mental health and addiction services, but the investments may be lost because of the financial strain COVID-19 has taken on our mental health and addiction system.
The CARES Act included funding to health care professionals, with a priority on paying hospitals through Medicare. However, community behavioral health organizations rely primarily on Medicaid and have largely been left out of critical emergency funding.The coalition also called for $1 billion each to the SAMHSA Community Mental Health Services block grant and the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant programs.
The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society. The American Psychiatric Association has more than 38,500 physician members who specialize in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses including addiction disorders.
This was reported by the American Psychiatric Association on April 21, 2020.