|Advocacy through policy is a prime avenue for making meaningful social change, especially in the world of behavioral health. Anyone and everyone should engage in advocacy for causes they care about!
The 87th Texas Legislative Session began on January 12, 2021. Since that time, numerous bills have been filed (7,068, to be exact) and are beginning to reach the phase of the bill process where they are voted on or against. NBHP has been working with its partners and has provided verbal and written testimony on several pieces of legislation. And thanks to the more than 100 e-mails sent to legislators through NBHP’s Action Alerts, THREE of our priority bills already have been voted out of the Texas House of Representatives! These bills include:
HB 4, which would require the Texas Health & Human Services Commission to ensure reimbursement for telehealth services, including audio-only services for behavioral health services, through Medicaid and other programs under its jurisdiction. Requiring reimbursement for telehealth services ensures continued access to these important services that have been gained during the pandemic due to Governor Abbott’s emergency rules. Reimbursement for audio-only behavioral health services also will ensure a solution for the numerous Texans who do not have access to high-speed Internet broadband.
HB 133, which would require the Texas Health & Human Services Commission to extend healthcare coverage under the Texas Medicaid program for pregnant women and new mothers up to 12-months postpartum. HB 133 would help provide healthcare coverage to vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers who are often going through extremely tumultuous life circumstances during the early stages of delivering a child.
HB 707, which would require the Texas Health & Human Services Commission to conduct a study regarding the expansion of recovery housing across the state. Recovery housing options are necessary for the treatment and successful long-term recovery of individuals recovering from a substance use disorder. Recovery housing also helps address the issue of increased homelessness and jail populations for individuals with behavioral health issues.
Please stay tuned for updates from us as we will continue to need your help engaging in Advocacy Alerts for these bills! Our Advocacy Alerts are form emails which will send an auto-populated message to your state legislators, populated by the address you input, urging them to support these important bills. This process takes less than a minute, and it makes a huge difference in moving these bills along!