Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher and Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Improve Mental Health Care for Seniors

  • COMPLETE Care Act

Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Congresswoman Michelle Steel (CA-45), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-08), Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03), and Congressman August Pfluger (TX-11) introduced the bipartisan Connecting Our Medical Providers with Links to Expand Tailored and Effective (COMPLETECare Act to help primary care providers improve mental health care access for Medicare beneficiaries in primary care settings.   

Many patients with mental health concerns talk to their primary care providers first about issues they are experiencing, but this can pose a variety of challenges for both the patient and the provider.  The COMPLETE Care Act would help primary care providers implement evidence-based integrated care delivery models into their practice and would provide mental health care services for Medicare beneficiaries by enhancing Medicare payment rates.  

“Expanding mental health care access in the primary care setting is one of the most important things we can do to improve and save lives for people struggling with mental health issues,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.  “It is critical that we build on our efforts to improve access to mental health resources, and I am glad to partner with Congresswoman Steel, Congressman Kildee, Congressman Bilirakis, Congresswoman Lee, and Congressman Pfluger in this important effort.” 

“Patients often first show a need for mental health and substance use disorder services during a primary care visit,” said Congresswoman Michelle Steel.  “Studies have made clear that collaborative care and behavioral health integration models are the most effective way to deliver care by ensuring all the necessary experts are immediately available to the patient.  One in four of those who rely on Medicare live with mental illness.  By equipping local primary care providers, we can help countless seniors quickly and effectively get the care they need.”

“Seniors shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to access the mental health care they need,” said Congressman Dan Kildee.  “By making critical investments in our local health care providers, this bill will make it easier for seniors struggling with mental health conditions to get connected to needed treatment.  I’m proud to be working alongside Congresswoman Steel on this bipartisan legislation to make mental health care more accessible for mid-Michigan seniors.”

“Addressing behavioral healthcare needs is a key component of wellness, especially for seniors.   The integration of behavioral healthcare in a primary care setting helps remove the stigma surrounding seeking treatment, improves care coordination, and leads to better health outcomes for patients,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis.  “All seniors deserve access to this effective delivery model.”

The COMPLETE Care Act is supported by AltaMed Health Services, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Art Therapy Association, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology, American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists, American Association on Health and Disability, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Bipartisan Policy Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Crisis Text Line, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, International OCD Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Lakeshore Foundation, Legal Action Center, Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Mental Health America, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association for Rural Mental Health, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, National Register of Health Service Psychologists, No Health w/o Mental Health, Providence Health & Services, Psychotherapy Action Network, REDC Consortium, RI International, Shatterproof, The Kennedy Forum, The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, The Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health, and Trust for America's Health.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) also introduced this legislation in the Senate.

In the last Congress, Congresswoman Fletcher introduced the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner (COCMAct, H.R. 5218.  A modified version of the bill, which establishes a grant program to help implement integrated models of care, passed the House and the Senate, and President Biden signed it into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, on December 29, 2022.  

To view the full text of the bill, click here.