MHA Offers Testimony on Behavioral Health Workforce Bill

MHA testified in support of HB1737 / SB1147, An Act Establishing a Behavioral Health Workforce, during Tuesday’s meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use & Recovery. This MHA priority bill would create a behavioral health workforce commission composed of state officials, as well as provider and consumer groups, to identify reasons for behavioral health workforce shortages in inpatient and community-based settings and make recommendations to address such shortages. 
“Massachusetts is facing a shortage of behavioral healthcare providers. This shortage results in an inability to fully open units and facilities for lack of necessary behavioral healthcare professionals, difficulty in recruiting staff for existing inpatient and community-based services, and, ultimately, delays in care for individuals seeking behavioral healthcare,” said Leigh Simons Youmans, MHA’s Director of Behavioral Health and Healthcare Policy. “It is our hope that convening this Behavioral Health Workforce Commission will provide a forum for state officials, providers, consumers, and payers to solve this problem so that all residents of the Commonwealth are able to access the behavioral health services they need when they need them.” 
MHA participated in the hearing as part of a panel that also included the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, and the National Association of Social Workers – Massachusetts Chapter.