Schlossberg: Legislative package would improve access to mental and physical health care

HARRISBURG, June 2 – As part of his ongoing efforts to improve access to mental health treatment in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, and colleagues are unveiling a package that would modernize mental health and substance use disorder laws and promote “whole person” health care initiatives.

“Right now, many Pennsylvanians who are seeking mental health treatment are encountering roadblocks from our own insurance laws and by making a few simple changes, we can remove these barriers to high quality care,” Schlossberg said. “This would be a big step in the right direction to ensure people with mental illnesses and afflictions are able to get the treatments they need.”

The legislative package includes three bills, two would amend both Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Procedures Act and Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act to align with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 standards to allow providers, facilities and health plans to share patient’s mental health and substance use disorder-related information more easily. The third bill would amend the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescription Program Act to enable data sharing with insurers and to strengthen Pennsylvania’s efforts in combatting the opioid crisis.  

Under current Pennsylvania law, mental health and physical health information cannot be fully shared among providers. The proposed changes would bring Pennsylvania in line with the majority of states that already share this information and are seeing improved patient outcomes.

Schlossberg is joined in this cause by Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, and state Reps. Frank Farry, R-Bucks, and Tina Pickett, R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna.

More information on the legislative package can be found here.