Contact your Congressional Representative for Support!
The AACAP's top legislative priority, the Child Health Care Crisis Relief Act, was reintroduced for the 110th Congress in the House of Representatives by Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R- FL). The new bill number is H.R. 2073. H.R. 2073 has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), and the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). We are currently working with the Senate to introduce the bill soon. We will let you know as soon as it is introduced.
The Child Health Care Crisis Relief Act addresses the critical national shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists and other children's mental health professionals by creating education incentives to encourage recruitment into these fields. For child and adolescent psychiatry training programs, the legislation would extend Medicare graduate medical education (GME) funding support for two years after general psychiatry, and create a loan forgiveness program for use by child and adolescent psychiatrists. Other mental health professionals eligible for the scholarships, loan forgiveness and training grants in the bill include psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, marriage and family therapists, and all school-based professionals, such as school psychologists, school social workers and school counselors. The bill would cost $45 million annually for 4 years.
The bill gained record bipartisan support in the 110th Congress thanks to the efforts of AACAP members and friends. The House bill finished off the Congress with 71 cosponsors and the Senate bill had 21 cosponsors. Since this is a new Congress, we will need to generate support for the bill again. Some of last year's cosponsors will rejoin the bill as supporters quickly, but many will need to be asked again for their support.
All AACAP members are asked to contact their Representative to request their co-sponsorship of the Child Health Care Crisis Relief Act. Call 1-202-224- 3121 to reach the Capitol Switchboard, and ask for your representative's office, or give them your zip code. When connected to the office, ask for the Health Legislative Assistant. Below is a sample message. If you leave a voicemail message, include your name and phone number.
A sample message is as follows:
"I am a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist from (your town), and I am calling to urge Rep. ______ to cosponsor the Child Health Care Crisis Relief Act, H.R. 2073, sponsored by Reps. Kennedy and Ros-Lehtinen. This legislation will help children and their families gain access to mental health treatment by increasing the numbers of children's mental health professionals. Please contact Mike Zamore in Rep. Kennedy's office to cosponsor this important legislation."
Please let us know when you have contacted your Representative. Please contact the AACAP Dept. of Government Affairs at 800.333.7636, x. 128, or email email@example.com with any questions.
Thank you for your advocacy!
Kristin K. Ptakowski, Director
Elizabeth Rorick, Assistant Director
Ramon Gardenhire, Assistant Director for State Advocacy
Abby Schopick, Legislative Assistant