Legislative Advocacy

2021-2022 Priority Legislation

On August 10, Gov. Baker signed into law an expansive bill known as the Mental Health ABC Act: Addressing Barriers to Care. The law, Chapter 177, includes comprehensive reforms to the behavioral health system to remove barriers for many people to get the care they need.

The new law will make a difference for future generations of Massachusetts residents at an integral time – and provides an opening to focus on prevention, parity and access, and directly address the implications of the pandemic. Thank you for contacting your legislators through the Children’s Mental Health Campaign’s action alerts and attending our Lunch & Learns. Your voice matters and helped get this landmark legislation over the finish line!

Chapter 177 includes a number of provisions the CMHC has been advocating for this session and beyond, including:

  • Strict limits placed on the use of suspension and expulsion in all licensed early education and care programs;

  • Codifying the creation of a statewide technical assistance center to help schools implement school-based behavioral health services;

  • Requiring the creation of an online portal with real-time data on children boarding in EDs and medical floors and stuck in inpatient units. The portal must also contain real-time information of bed availability to facilitate bed searches; 

  • Creation of a Complex Cases Interagency Review Team to collaborate on complex cases  to ensure that children who are disabled or who have special needs get the care they need in a timely manner, without bureaucratic delays; and

  • Numerous provisions that close loopholes and address gaps in the Commonwealth’s existing mental health parity law that will allow consumers in our state to finally benefit from the intended promise of parity.

Click HERE to read more about the provisions in the bill that impact children’s behavioral health.

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