Sustaining and Expanding Access to Behavioral Health Services

HAP supports new health care delivery models and additional flexibility in the delivery system to better address patients' behavioral health care needs.


HAP is working to:

  • Expand the role of advanced practice professionals in the behavioral health care setting to improve access to needed services
  • Address hospital challenges related to identifying treatment resources beyond the emergency department
  • Advance the use of telehealth and insurer reimbursement for telehealth to increase access to behavioral health services
  • Modernize policy to improve access to information to improve patient care
  • Secure additional state and federal funds to initiate new behavioral health care models in the state 

Health Care Heroes and Public Health Preparedness Act

The pandemic has exacerbated the existing crisis of inadequate post-acute placements and behavioral health services. To help address is crisis, HAP supports addressing behavioral health and post-acute capacity and barriers:

  • Pennsylvania needs solutions to help patients receive the care they need after they leave the hospital. These solutions will vary from place to place; one-size-fits-all remedies rarely work


HAP supports regulatory changes to prevent insurers from prohibiting reimbursement for a service solely because it was provided via telemedicine.

Regulatory Activity

State:  During July, the Pennsylvania Regulatory Review Commission approved new regulations for outpatient psychiatric services and psychiatric outpatient clinics.

The new regulations amend 55 PA Code Chapter 1153 and 55 Pa Code Chapter 5200—updating decades old policy and aligning state requirements with federal requirements set forth in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The regulations also codify requirements for delivery of Mobile Mental Health Treatment services as well as regulations for supervision in accordance with section 4 of the Outpatient Psychiatric Oversight Act.

Federal:  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a final rule to update the payment rates for inpatient psychiatric facilities for fiscal year 2020:

  • Net payment increase of 1.5 percent, or $65 million, compared to FY 2019. The total increase includes a market-basket update and rebasing offset by statutorily required reductions and a reduction related to the outlier threshold
  • Addition of one quality measure on medication continuation following discharge for FY 2021 payment determination.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a proposed rule during August to amend sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that define restrictions on how federally assisted alcohol or drug abuse programs may use and share patient information. HAP supports efforts by the American Hospital Association to encourage Congress to pursue legislation to modernize substance use disorder information sharing to support better care coordination and integration.

HAP Opioid Learning Action Network

The HAP Opioid Learning Action Network (LAN), funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is a two-year project that will support Pennsylvania’s hospitals in working collectively to identify, create, and disseminate promising practices to measurably increase the number of patients entering evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorders (OUD) and reduce overdose deaths.

For additional information about behavioral health, go to HAP’s Resource Center.

HAP Contacts

For more information, contact Jennifer Jordan, vice president, regulatory advocacy. Media inquiries should be directed to Liam Migdail, HAP's director, media relations.

HAP News

October 21, 2021

October is Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month

October is Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values.