Schneider Votes to Advance Legislation to Expand Home Visiting and Mental Health Services

Press Release

Date: Sept. 22, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10), a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, voted to advance legislation in the Ways and Means Committee that will help families in the 10th District and across the country receive critical health services. Representative Schneider helped introduce the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act and led the Behavioral Health Integration Awareness (BHIA) Act along with his colleagues, Representatives Jason Smith (MO-08) and Drew Ferguson (GA-03).

"I am heartened that many more families in my community and across the country will be able to receive critical home visiting services and treatment for mental health concerns and substance use disorders," said Congressman Schnieder. "No American should go without access to mental health and substance use disorder care because of education gaps in administrative procedure or a lack of sufficient resources to support our health care providers. I am glad to see these bills advance out of Committee and look forward to voting for them on the House floor."

The Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act -- named to honor Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) who passed away tragically in August -- would double funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program over the next five years. In Illinois alone, about 17,000 families benefit from home visiting programs.

Additionally, Schneider's bipartisan BHIA Act improves access to mental health services for Medicare beneficiaries by promoting behavioral health integration (BHI) billing codes in response to the mental health crisis. The bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct educational outreach to health care professionals about BHI billing codes and services covered by Medicare to encourage their uptake, eligibility requirements for patients to receive these important services, and how to bill them appropriately. The BHIA will ensure that health care professionals are up to date on the latest requirements and procedures for billing behavioral health services for better patient outcomes.

"I'm glad that the Ways and Means Committee came together to pass real, bipartisan solutions to help address the mental health challenges facing our communities, including the lack of access to treatment services in rural areas," said Congressman Smith. "This legislative package takes a thoughtful, targeted approach and can make a significant impact on those providing and receiving mental and behavioral health treatment. I'm also pleased we were able to honor our dear friend and colleague Jackie Walorski by advancing her legislation to reauthorize a program with a proven track record of protecting the well-being of our nation's children and families, including hundreds in my district. I'll continue advocating for policies and legislation that will expand access to mental and behavioral health treatment in rural and underserved areas."

"The mental health crisis impacts every community across the country," said Congressman Drew Ferguson. "I'm proud to work in a bipartisan way to introduce the Behavioral Health Integration Awareness Act to increase access to underutilized mental health services that are available to patients who would greatly benefit from them. This bill is extremely important in our efforts to combat this country's mental health crisis."