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Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher’s Bipartisan Mental Health Bill Passes House

  • 6.22 COCM Act Passes House

Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher’s (TX-07) bipartisan bill, the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner (COCM) Act, H.R. 5218, passed the House.  The legislation invests in the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM), an evidence-based model that integrates behavioral health into the primary care setting to ensure Americans can access mental health care services when they need them.  It was included as part of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, H.R. 7666, a package of bills that addresses the mental health and opioid abuse crises.  The bill passed the House on a bipartisan basis, by a vote of 402-20.

“The United States is experiencing a mental health crisis, which the pandemic has exacerbated.  Many people first display symptoms of a mental health condition or substance use disorder in the primary care setting.  But often they can’t access the necessary follow-up treatment — it is either too expensive or too difficult for them to find the necessary mental health professional or overcome other obstacles, including stigma,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.  “That is why enabling patients to access behavioral health treatment at their first point of care is so critical, and that is what this bill does.  I am glad the legislation I introduced with Congresswoman Herrera Beutler to increase the integration of behavioral health into the primary care setting through the Collaborative Care Model has now passed the House.  I thank our colleagues for joining us in making smart investments to improve our country’s mental health system, and to provide the tools and resources needed to better identify and treat mental health disorders.”

Last year, Congresswoman Fletcher and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) introduced the COCM Act, H.R. 5218, after more than 90 published trials showed the CoCM improves patient outcomes, lowers total costs of care, and reduces stigma related to mental health. 

Specifically, the bill would: 

  • Expand the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration grant program to provide dedicated funding to states to increase implementation of the COCM model; 
  • Authorize $60 million annually for five years for this grant program;
  • Prioritize grants for recipients who provide care to medically underserved populations and in areas where the prevalence of behavioral health conditions exceeds the national average; and
  • Authorize incentive payments for recipients that use appropriate billing codes and quality measures for behavioral health services as well as grants for national and regional organizations that provide technical assistance to improve integration.

To view the Congresswoman’s remarks on the House floor on the COCM Act, click here.