National Council for Mental Wellbeing Statement on Bipartisan House and Senate Committee Leaders Urging HHS to Disperse COVID-19 Relief Funds to Medicaid Providers


Sophia Majlessi
(202) 621-1631

On June 3, 2020 the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the United States Senate Committee on Finance and the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, asking for a dedicated distribution from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) for Medicaid-dependent providers and expressing concerns over the ongoing delay in funding.  The letter highlights the immediate needs of Medicaid-dependent providers, noting their status as safety net providers for vulnerable populations and thin margins under which they operate. Congress has, through two COVID relief bills, appropriated $175 billion for providers in the PHSSEF – tens of billions of which remain unallocated.

“Community behavioral health organizations remain under incredible financial strain as a result of the pandemic. Delays in federal relief funds have exacerbated the fiscal pressures they face,” National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. “Mental illness and addiction aren’t going away in America. They are getting worse as a result of the pandemic. Today, America is on the verge of another public health crisis – a behavioral health care crisis. The sooner behavioral health care providers have access to the relief fund Congress has appropriated, the sooner they can prepare to meet the challenge.”

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing would like to express our sincere thanks to Senators Grassley (R-Iowa) and Wyden (D-Oregon) and Congressmen Pallone (D-New Jersey) and Walden (R-Oregon) for their continued efforts to highlight the immediate needs of Medicaid-dependent behavioral health providers across the nation. A dedicated distribution from the PHSSEF and a timeline indicating when providers can expect a disbursement of funds will be crucial to ensuring that behavioral health providers can continue to provide critical services to the millions of Americans in need.


About the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 2 million Americans have been trained.

About The National Council

Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,400 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.