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SB 476 (Crossover): Behavioral Health Community Providers - Keep the Door Open Act

Position: SUPPORT

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public-policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

SB 476, as amended, stipulates that the Governor's proposed budget for specified fiscal years include certain rate increases for community providers over the funding provided within legislative appropriations. The bill also requires the Behavioral Health Administration and the Medical Care Programs Administration to jointly conduct a study and implement a specified payment system, and for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to submit an annual report on or before December 1, 2019.

The Catholic Church supports legislation that ensures access to quality, affordable, life-giving health care for all. Behavioral health is integral to health of the entire person. For the sake of those who need treatment for mental health, somatic illnesses, and substance use disorders, behavioral health services must have adequate funding so they can keep their doors open –just as the title of this legislation states. A growing number of Marylanders are in need of healing, but previous budgets have not adequately allowed service providers to meet the demand . Every effort must be made to keep services available to all those who are seeking behavioral health care.

The Conference appreciates your consideration and urges you to support SB 476.