Psychology and Other Health Workforce Bills

The Health Access and Health Professions Supply Act

The Health Access and Health Professions Supply Act (Senator Jeff Bingaman, D-NM) would amend the Social Security Act and make cost of training psychology interns eligible for Medicare payments to hospitals. In addition this bill also amends the Public Health Service Act and makes psychology eligible through the term “behavioral and mental health professionals” for membership on a permanent national health workforce commission (we are working on getting psychology specifically named in this provision). In addition psychology would be included by being named or through the term “behavioral and mental health professionals” in: (1) any workforce data collection and analysis; the expansion of the National Health Service Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program; (2) training to become commissioned officers in the Public Health Service through a newly established Public Health Science Track; and (3) a new Health Professions Training Pipeline Partnerships Program to increase the number of young adults entering the health professions.

The Retooling the Health Care Workforce for an Aging America Act

The Retooling the Health Care Workforce for an Aging America Act (Senator Hebert Kohl, D-WI) also amends Title VII of the Public Health Service Act to: (1) expand funding for Geriatric Education Centers for grants to offer short-term intensive courses in geriatrics; (2) expand the Geriatric Academic Career Awards program to include junior faculty in nursing, social work, psychology, and allied health disciplines;  (3) authorize a new Geriatric Career Incentive Awards program to provide financial support for psychology students and masters level clinical social workers who wish to pursue a doctorate or other advanced degree in geriatrics, long-term care, geropsychology, or chronic care management; and (4) analyze current and projected needs for health care professionals and paraprofessionals in the long-term care sector. This legislation would also authorize a researchstudy on the geriatric mental health workforce.

The Child Health Care Crisis Relief Act

The Child Health Care Crisis Relief Act (Representative Patrick Kennedy, D-RI) would also amend Title VII of the Public Health Service Act to support the professional training of individuals to provide mental health services for children and adolescents, including: (1) entering into contracts with qualified individuals to pay educational loans in exchange for providing mental health services to children and adolescents; (2) awarding scholarships to students who agree to work as child and adolescent mental health service professionals after graduation or completion of residency or fellowship; (3) awarding competitive grants to higher education institutions to establish or expand internship or other field placement programs for students receiving specialized training or clinical experience in child and adolescent mental health; and (4) awarding grants to higher education institutions to establish or expand graduate child and adolescent mental health training programs. This legislation would also authorize a study on the distribution of, and need for, child mental health professionals and on a comparison of such distribution and need on a state-by-state basis.