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May 01, 2024

Trone, Nunn Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Improve Access to Occupational Therapy


May 1, 2024

Trone, Nunn Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Improve Access to Occupational Therapy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Congressmen David Trone (D-MD) and Zach Nunn (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Occupational Therapy and Mental Health Parity Act to improve access to occupational therapy treatment of mental health conditions under Medicare. The bill ensures that stakeholders are provided with the education they need to understand the existing coverage and proper billing procedures. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the bill in the Senate. 

Research shows that occupational therapists play a vital role in improving outcomes and daily functioning for those with mental health disorders. A 2018 study found occupational therapy interventions significantly improved psychological well-being, life satisfaction, and quality of life for individuals with mental illness. Additionally, a 2020 meta-analysis showed occupational therapy improved self-regulation, adaptive behavior, social participation, and overall psychosocial functioning among youth. 

“While one in five U.S. adults live with a mental health condition, only half receive the treatment they need. We’ve got to remove barriers to treatment, and sometimes doing that is as simple as ensuring health care providers are educated on treatment procedures,” said Rep. Trone, co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force. “This legislation will ensure stakeholders know about the coverage and billing procedures for occupational therapy treatment under Medicare, addressing a critical gap in patients receiving the mental health care they need.” 

“Our nation is facing both a mental health and substance abuse crisis,” said Rep. Nunn. “Occupational therapists can make a massive difference in treatment and recovery from these diagnoses. This commonsense legislation will reduce barriers to treatment for Medicare recipients, expanding their options for healthcare for mental health and substance abuse disorders.”

“Occupational therapists can play a key role in helping patients with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan bill would clarify that Medicare and Medicaid can provide for occupational therapy for mental health and substance use disorders. I encourage my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.”

For bill text, click here.

For one-pager, click here.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Budget, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders.