2020 Legislative Positions

AGPA actively promotes the awareness of group psychotherapy as a treatment alternative to the public, patients/clients, potential sources of referrals, creators and public policy, third-party payers, and educators.

AGPA is an active participant in the Mental Health Liaison Group, a consortium of mental health organizations which cooperates on public information and legislative initiatives. As part of its work with the Mental Health Liaison Group, AGPA has supported the following legislation:



February 14, 2020 Letter expressing strong support for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed rule, Implementation of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018. This legislation offers lifesaving support to those in crisis and can act as an important link to ongoing mental health care.
February 28, 2020
March 4, 2020 Letter expressing strong support for the Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act. This critical legislation eliminates the discrimination against mental illnesses that continues to exist in the Medicare program as Medicare beneficiaries are limited to 190- days of inpatient psychiatric hospital care during their lifetime.
March 19, 2020 Letter requesting support for appropriating an additional $35 million for a total of $757.5 million for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant for FY 2021 to fund a five percent set aside for all states to fund crisis care services. Dedicated funding for states to enable communities to enhance their crisis services capabilities will save lives that otherwise could be lost.
March 25, 2020 Letter requesting states to temporarily lift restrictions on telebehavioral health at all levels of care by telephone or video for individuals regardless of insurance plan and ensure payment parity until the conclusion of the COVID-19 national emergency.
April 24, 2020 Letter requesting an act of congress to require insurers, including those that offer self-funded plans (regulated by ERISA and the Department of Labor at the federal level), to allow for telementalhealth via any secure platform during this pandemic. This letter was also supported by a petition led by the Psychotherapy Action Network for fair coverage for telementalhealth.
April 30, 2020 Letter urging Congress to expand statutory authority to the U.S. Department of Labor in order for the agency to require ERISA plans to cover telethealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 6, 2020 Letter urging Congress to make substantial investments and critical policy changes to mitigate the mental health and substance use-related effects of COVID-19.
May 11, 2020 Letter requesting the inclusion of suicide prevention and youth mental health policies and funding within the next COVID-19 relief package.
May 22, 2020 Letter requesting that regulations providing flexibility for telehealth in Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and federally subsidized and funded health programs be extended after the COVID-19 emergency.
June 1, 2020 Letter expressing strong support for S.3792, the Tele-Mental Health Improvement Act of 2020, which would require group health plans and health insurers to cover mental health and substance use disorder telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
June 5, 2020 Letter urging Congress to address the mental health and addictions impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and include H.R. 945, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, in the next relief package. H.R. 945 would allow licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to bill Medicare for medically necessary behavioral health services.
June 10, 2020 Letter expressing strong support for H.R. 6645, Congressman Paul Tonko’s COVID-19 Mental Health Research Act. This legislation directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), to conduct or support research on the mental health consequences of SARS-CoV2 or COVID-19.
June 22, 2020 Letter requesting substantial investments and critical policy changes to mitigate the mental health and substance use-related effects of COVID-19 and the impact on individuals and families and the economic impacts on the providers they rely on for their care.
June 25, 2020 Letter calling on Congress to continue the existing 6.2 percentage point increase and further raise the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage by an additional 7.8 percent points as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act) (H.R. 6800); temporarily extending this additional 14 percentage point increase at least through June of 2021. This will allow continued coverage at a high level of medical and mental health needs, which have been increasing through the pandemic, through the Medicaid programs whose ranks are expanding.
September 21, 2020 Letter urging Congress to bring forth bipartisan pieces of legislation reported out by the Energy & Commerce Committee such as the STANDUP Act of 2020 (H.R. 7293) and the Mental Health Services for Students Act (H.R. 1109) to help prevent youth suicide and intervene early to support youth mental health.
September 22, 2020 Letter expressing gratitude for the introduction of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (S. 4349). This legislation will reduce and prevent suicide and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals, sometimes referred to as “burn out.”
September 24, 2020 Letter urging the inclusion of desperately needed funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – funding that was previously included in the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act –in the Continuing Resolution (CR) package or as a priority in a forthcoming coronavirus relief package in order to meet increasing substance abuse and mental health needs around the country as a result of the pandemic.
October 5, 2020 Letter strongly supporting the changes proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand telehealth and urging further expansion by allowing telehealth through audio-only devices and the elimination of current geographic and site restrictions.
November 6, 2020 Letter urging the Committee to consider the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act (H.R. 8283/S.4421), which would increase access to health care during the national public health emergency by allowing health care practitioners with a valid practitioners’ license to provide services, including telehealth services, in all states for the duration of the public health emergency.
December 10, 2020 Letter urging Congress to take urgent actions to address the unprecedented mental health and substance use effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by investing in preserving and expanding infrastructure for mental health and substance use services and supports.
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