WASHINGTON – Citing that it would make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to receive mental health care, AARP announced Tuesday its support for Rep. Tom Reed’s bipartisan Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act.
“Just as we see a primary care doctor every year, it is important we have a ‘check-up’ on the mind as well,” Reed in a statment to the media. “We care about the mental health needs of people and want to ensure they have better access to the care they need in areas where doctors are scarce through the most updated technology available.”
“We appreciate this support from our friends at the AARP,” Reed added.
Reed’s Office says that the Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act bill will allow all Medicare beneficiaries to access mental health services through telemedicine in their own home, regardless of where they live. Reed introduced the bill with Rep. Suzan DelBene last month.
“Roughly one in five older Americans has a mental disorder, and as the Medicare population grows, the number of people seeking treatment will grow,” David Certner, Legislative Counsel and Legislative Policy Director for AARP said in the letter of support. “This population is inadequately served by our health care system. Your bill improves access to care by making it easier for people who may not live near a mental health professional to get the support they need.”
More than 3.6 million people each year miss or delay care due to lack of transportation to their physician.
Telemedicine allows those patients to take off less time from work and spend less time sitting in traffic.