Bills To Make Services More Available For Those With Mental Health Issues In Md. General Assembly

They would make greater use of tele-health.


Annapolis, Md (KM) Three bills to increase services for those with mental health issues is being considered by the Maryland General Assembly.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, whose been heading up the Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health in Maryland, says the lack of adequate personnel to deal with these issues is a major concern in Maryland all across the country. “The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the lives of Marylanders, particularly those struggling with mental and behavioral health disorders,” he said.

One bill would require insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid to reimburse for tele-health audio services. He says this bill will expand this service to those people who lack video-conferencing equipment or broadband service. “And it will increase access to critical counseling services for substance use disorder and mental health issues, which has been made worse by the pandemic,:” he said.

Another bill would allow health care providers licensed by other states to provide tele-health services in Maryland. “This legislation will increase the number of health care providers available to address unmet demand for critical health services,” Rutherford says.

The Board of Professional Counselors Interstate Compact Bill would allow professional counselors who are licensed in other states to participate with the compact to serve patients located in Maryland. “The ability to recruit addiction treatment professionals has been long hampered by unnecessary barriers to hiring professionals who are licensed in other states,” say Rutherford.

“Joining the compact will increase the number of professional counselors available to serve Maryland patients who need critical behavioral health and substance use disorder services,” he continues.

Under the bill, Maryland professional counselors to provide services to persons in states participating in the compact, and will become effective when ten or more states take part.

Lt. Gov. Rutherford made his comments during the Governor’s news conference Thursday of last week.


By Kevin McManus