Committee unanimously endorses Millett’s child mental health bill

Posted: February 07, 2018 | Senator Millett

AUGUSTA — A bill introduced by Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, received a unanimous vote in the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday. The bill will increase access to family therapy sessions for families who need assistance learning how to best care for children with behavioral and mental health needs.

The bill, LD 384 “An Act To Strengthen Maine Children’s Mental Health,” as amended, directs the Department of Health and Human Services to write rules allowing for the reimbursement to MaineCare of family or multi-family therapy sessions without the child present.

“On the Education Committee we hear constantly about the increasing number of behavioral issues teachers are faced with every day — and that is mirrored in homes around the state,” said Sen. Millett. “It is common sense that we would make it easier for Maine’s child psychiatrists to work with families and treat these behavior disorders in the best way available to them.”

Young children with disruptive behaviors or attention deficit disorder are at a greater risk for school failure and to develop conduct disorder. However, studies show that at least a third of these children can be helped by specific parent management training programs. In many instances, such programs can avoid the need for medication. These trainings happen without the child present and under current MaineCare reimbursement rules, providers cannot bill for reimbursement because the child isn’t present for the session.

North Carolina and California have enacted laws similar to LD 384.

LD 384 now heads to the Senate for initial votes.