This report is based, in part, on the multi-page summary of this year’s legislative session from our lobbyists, Pam Metz Kasemeyer, JD and Christine Krone.
As promised, this is a final wrap-up of the bills that came before the MD 2023 Legislature that had the potential to impact our profession and our clients. See the reports in the March and June newsletters for many other bills considered by your Legislation and Advocacy Committee and our lobbyists.
Senate Bill 581 (passed) established the Behavioral Health Value-Based Purchasing Pilot Program, which will pilot person-centered, team-based services designed to assess and meet the needs of behavioral health clients needing to navigate the health- care system. $600,000 in mandated funding for the pilot must be included in the budget for each of the Fiscal Years 2025-2027.
Senate Bill 263/House Bill 573 (passed) establishes an Advisory Committee to study and make recommendations regarding access to mental health services on higher education campuses. The Committee will report its findings to the General Assembly by 12/1/23.
Senate Bill 154 (passed) requires the Department of Health to implement a public awareness campaign to encourage the use of Mental Health Advance Directives in Maryland. The goal is to identify how first responders and behavioral health crisis providers can access an advance directives database when responding to a behavioral health crisis.
Unfortunately, both House Bill 1070, which would have permitted LCSW-Cs to serve as Expert Witnesses, and House Bill 694, which would have permitted LCSW-Cs to be certified by the MD BSWE to register as a rehabilitation practitioner and perform specified services for workers’ compensation purposes, both either failed to pass out of committee (HB 1070) or never received a hearing in the senate (HB 694). Look for similar bills to be introduced in the 2024 Legislative Session.
House Bill 103/Senate Bill 145 (passed) authorizes the MD BSWE to issue a temporary license lasting no more than 180 days if a required exam was unavailable to the applicant for at least 15 days. The applicant must have already met all educational and experience requirements.
THE INTERSECTION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND LEGISLATION AND ADVOCACY
The MD Department of Health is working to identify individuals to serve on a legislatively-mandated “Workgroup on Black, Latino, Asian American Pacific Islander and Other Underrepresented Behavioral Health Professionals.” This group was established by HB 97 in 2022 and its effective date was extended one year by HB 615 this past session.
The Workgroup shall:
This is not a bill that the GWSCSW was specifically requested to appoint someone to serve on the Workgroup; however, they are still actively seeking people to serve in three seats that have not yet been filled. Two seats require a representative from an organization, network or association of behavioral health professionals. The third seat needs a representative from a hospital network that primarily serves underrepresented communities.
This is an opportunity to be involved in representing our Society while addressing a social justice issue. Please let Judy Gallant know (email@example.com) if you are interested in serving on this workgroup.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA 22463 | 202-478-7638 | firstname.lastname@example.org