Katko proposes bill to support local mental health, addiction facilities

U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) on May 22 introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to establish a $100 million emergency grant program that would support local mental health and addiction facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For those struggling with substance use and mental health disorders, the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the challenges they face and made it more difficult to access care,” Rep. Katko said. “By providing $100 million in emergency funds for mental health and substance use disorder treatment and outreach providers, our bipartisan and bicameral legislation will ensure those who need help during the crisis can safely access care.”

Rep. Katko is an original cosponsor of the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act, H.R. 6999, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) to establish the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Network, according to the congressional record summary.

The same-named companion bill, S. 3825 was introduced on May 21 by U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in their chamber.

If enacted, the funds provided under the measure would allow local medical facilities to initiate or expand mental health and substance use disorder services, such as support groups, telephone helplines and websites, training programs, telehealth services, and outreach services.

“This pandemic has been hard on Americans. Now more than ever, we must prioritize mental health by dedicating resources like telehealth, support groups and outreach services so people can get the help that they need,” said Sen. Young.

The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act has garnered support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Counseling Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Psychiatric Association.