Issue Brief 16-54
November 4, 2016

Both the House and Senate have acted on bills to address mental health reform, and congressional leaders have indicated a compromise is possible during the lame duck session. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) approved the Mental Health Reform Act (S. 2680) in March. The House passed the Mental Health Systems Improvements Act (H.R. 2646) in July.

The bills focus on improving the nation’s mental health treatment system by:

  • enhancing oversight and coordination of mental health programs
  • creating new grant programs to address unmet needs
  • reauthorizing and modifying existing programs

The House bill would also expand mental health coverage under Medicaid and require states to implement electronic visit verification systems for personal care and home health services. This Issue Brief compares the two versions, and provides an inventory of grants included in the bills.