May 9, 2024 | Press Releases

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Zach Nunn (IA-03) and David Trone (MD-06) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve access to treatment options under Medicare. The Occupational Therapy and Mental Health Parity Actwill ensure that Medicare recipients have access to covered occupational therapy treatment for substance use and mental health disorders.  
“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 health care options for mental health and substance abuse disorders.” 
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 can significantly improve psychological well-being, life satisfaction, and quality of life for individuals with mental illness. 
“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. “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.” 
The bipartisan Occupational Therapy and Mental Health Parity Act would require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct stakeholder education to clarify that occupational therapy services for substance use and mental health disorders are covered by Medicare. 
A companion to the Occupational Therapy and Mental Health Parity Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). 
Text of the bill can be found here