Emmer’s bill seeks proper treatment time for patients facing mental illness

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) this week introduced the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act, according to his office.

“Every community throughout the country has been struggling with the same challenge: providing adequate mental health care to individuals experiencing mental illness,” Rep. Emmer said on Tuesday. “This legislation would be an important step in addressing one of the many barriers to ensuring access to mental health care.”

If enacted, the measure would amend the Social Security Act to provide Medicaid coverage for treatments addressing psychiatric or substance use disorders provided to certain individuals in an institution who suffer from mental diseases, according to the text of the bill provided by the congressman’s office.

Specifically, the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act would eliminate the 15-day cap for Managed Care Organizations and Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan beneficiaries who receive care in an institution for mental disease (IMD), thereby allowing them to receive care for the appropriate amount of time required to treat their mental illness.

The IMD exclusion, initially enacted in 1965 as a way to ensure state responsibility for mental health treatment, has resulted in caps being placed on the number of beds provided for patients and the number of days a patient may receive mental health care.