New Bill Seeks To Expand Mental Health Services

RUSH social workers support effort to improve mental health care for Medicare patients
Representative Davis with Robyn Golden

RUSH social workers are backing a bill that aims to expand access to mental health services and more for Medicare beneficiaries.   

The Integrating Social Workers Across Health Care Settings Act is a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago and U.S. Rep. Jen Kiggans of Virginia. If passed, this legislation will expand the scope of services for which clinical social workers are able to bill. These are services they already are able to perform under existing legislation that contribute to the overall well-being of particularly vulnerable patients.  

“By addressing health needs within the broader context of societal and environmental factors, clinical social workers use our expertise to uplift our nation’s most vulnerable patients,” said Robyn Golden, LCSW, associate vice president of Social Work and Community Health at RUSH.  

“No matter who you are, the benefit of robust social care is undeniable. People who are marginalized, at risk of health complications or simply in need of assistance in their care journey have better outcomes and a better experience when members of their care team can understand people’s daily realities that impact medical treatment.” 

Addressing social determinants of health

The Integrating Social Workers Across Health Care Settings Act takes health equity into account by addressing the social determinants of health, such as economic stability, education, housing and more that social workers frequently focus on.  

"Endorsing comprehensive reimbursement for clinical social workers is the most immediate action Congress can take to fortify this workforce and support an accessible health infrastructure made of quality care for all, and I see the Integrating Social Workers Across Health Care Settings Act as the best vehicle for this action,” said Bonnie Ewald, director of Center for Health and Social Care Integration at RUSH.  

In July, Golden and Ewald spoke on the impact of the legislation at a press conference hosted by Davis. They were supported by an additional 24 organizations that worked with Davis and Kiggans’ staff to initiate the bill. 

“This legislation is a testament to the care that clinical social workers provide our nation, both as providers of care coordination across health care settings and as the largest group of professionally trained mental health providers in the United States,” Davis said.  

“I look forward to a future where the compassionate care provided by clinical social workers becomes a cornerstone of our healthcare system.” 

Visit the Center for Health and Social Care Integration at RUSH and view the advocacy toolkit for this bill.  

To learn more about health Equity at RUSH, visit the RUSH BMO Institute for Health Equity.  

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