Bills introduced to improve access to behavioral health services
(Phoenix, State Capitol) ---- Nearly four Arizonans die every day from suicide, more than die in car crashes. Seniors, teenagers, veterans and Native Americans are all at higher risk. Suicide is preventable, if people get the behavioral health services they need. But Arizonans seeking care for mental illness find gaps in coverage, restrictions on visits and difficulty finding behavioral health providers within the networks of their insurance provider.
Today, Senator Kate Brophy McGee and Representative Jeff Weninger are introducing bills to get these patients the help they need. SB 1523 and HB 2764 give the Arizona Department of Insurance new powers to enforce mental health compliance. The bills also improve access to behavioral health services in schools so children can receive therapy on site.
"We know behavioral health services save lives," said Senator Brophy McGee. "Unfortunately, studies show that more than 50% of individuals with behavioral health issues do not receive the services they need. We are aiming to change that."
“The tragic consequences of suicide touch so many families across our communities and state, and the heartbreaking truth is that much of it can be prevented given timely access to care,” said Representative Weninger. “While solutions must come from many directions, the bills we introduced today are a strong step forward in the fight to improve access to behavioral health care and save lives.”
“No family should have to struggle to get the mental health care they need in a time of crisis,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “This commonsense reform will ensure that insurance companies are treating mental health just like they would an annual physical, improving access to critical behavioral health resources and support. My thanks to Senator Kate Brophy McGee and Representative Jeff Weninger for leading on this important issue for their constituents and all Arizonans.”