Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (Florida-02) and Congresswoman Angie Craig (Minnesota-02) introduced the Improving CARE for Youth Act. The bill allows for same-day billing for mental health services for youth Medicaid beneficiaries who are being seen for a primary care service.

“Our youth’s mental health is worse than it’s ever been, especially following the destructive COVID-19 lockdowns. Protecting the future of the youth in our country is too important to be hindered by a Medicaid billing restriction,” said Congressman Dunn. “Fixing same-day billing for Medicaid beneficiaries may seem like a small change, but it will have a big impact. We must ensure all children have access to the quality care they need.”

“We should be doing everything we can to make it easier for children to access the high-quality mental health care they deserve. That’s why I introduced this bipartisan bill with my colleague Rep. Dunn to remove mental health care barriers for children on Medicaid. I’ll keep fighting to expand access to mental health services for Americans of all ages and backgrounds,” said Congresswoman Craig.

Currently, a provider can only bill once per day for a Medicaid patient. This creates a barrier to mental health care when a child covered by Medicaid is seen for a primary care appointment and a mental health need is identified. If the primary care doctor wants to refer the patient to a mental health provider on staff, the practice cannot bill for the mental health service in the same day and get Medicaid reimbursement, creating an unnecessary barrier to care.

“As a family physician, I know that improving access to mental health and primary care services for Medicaid beneficiaries is critical, particularly as we continue to see increased rates of youth mental health concerns. That’s why the American Academy of Family Physicians is pleased to endorse the Improving CARE for Youth Act, which will ensure Medicaid coverage of mental health and primary care services provided on the same day. The AAFP has long supported efforts to improve behavioral health integration in primary care and we are pleased this bipartisan legislation will help address coverage and financial barriers for patients.” – Steven P. Furr, MD, FAAFP, President, American Academy of Family Physicians. 

“Pediatricians are witnessing the national emergency in youth mental health in our clinics, practices and hospitals across the country. Barriers to integrating mental health into pediatric primary such as insurance restrictions for same-day billing for a child’s medical and mental health care limit access to needed services. The Improving Coordination and Access to Resources Equitably for Youth Act would prohibit this practice in Medicaid thereby helping ensure that children can receive the care they need. The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses this legislation, urges its swift passage, and thanks Representatives Neal P. Dunn, MD (R-FL) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) for their leadership on this legislation,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Ben Hoffman, MD, FAAP. 

“In the wake of a worsening youth mental health crisis, it’s essential that we make mental health services accessible to all children,” said Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., CEO and Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association. “Removing Medicaid’s billing restrictions for those seeking mental health and primary care services on the same day will enhance integration and make care more accessible for those in need.”