Greetings! Welcome to the IOCDF Advocacy Corner. Since the launch of our Advocacy Program last year, we have been working hard to shape and support public policy that positively impacts all those who are affected by OCD and related disorders. We have big plans for 2020 — plans that we want to share with you! We think it’s incredibly important to keep our community informed about the IOCDF’s advocacy work, and we’ll be including the Advocacy Corner column on this blog in addition to each issue of our newsletter.
Here is what the IOCDF has been up to since the Fall 2019 Newsletter:
The IOCDF Public Policy Advocacy Program has wrapped up its first full year in operation, and we’re excited to share some of our most recent accomplishments with you.
This fall, we partnered with the National Council on Behavioral Health for our first-ever Hill Day in Washington, DC! Hill Day brought advocates from around the nation for two days of education and advocacy on Capitol Hill. IOCDF staff and volunteer advocates met with their representatives in Congress to voice their support for critical mental health legislation, including:
- The Mental Health Access Improvement Act, which would allow licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs) and licensed family and marriage therapists (LMFTs) to receive reimbursement from Medicare.The IOCDF’s Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) regularly trains clinicians with these licenses to provide treatment for OCD and related disorders. This bill would unlock their services for Medicare recipients who need evidence-based care for OCD and related disorders.
- The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Act, which will support and expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) program. CCBHCs provide access to high-quality behavioral healthcare to low-income residents in eight US states. Initial data from this program has shown that it is effective in reaching people who otherwise would not have access to mental health services, and that it reduces costly outcomes like inpatient admissions. We hope to see this program grow to support people in need of mental health and addiction services in all 50 states.
“Hill Day is a great opportunity for those who suffer with mental health issues to make our voices heard in front of an audience that truly has the power to make significant changes on our behalf. While it may seem intimidating to sit down with legislators because we feel that we aren’t polished or eloquent enough, the reality is that legislators aren’t only looking to hear from professionals. When all is said and done, the experiences and opinions of a legislator’s constituents carry a lot of weight in their minds as they shape public policy.”
–Micah Howe, Iowa state captain and member of the IOCDF’s advocacy team at Hill Day 2019
On October 12th, we once again gathered in Washington, DC to kick off OCD Awareness Week with our Mental Health Advocacy Capital Walk. This year we were excited to be joined by several partner organizations, including the National Association for Rural Mental Health, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors. Our Affiliate and partner OCD Mid-Atlantic played a key role in organizing this annual event. Advocates came from across the country to network and raise awareness on the National Mall.
The new year promises to be an exciting one for our Advocacy Program. We have spent the past 12 months taking deep dives into important public policy issues like teletherapy, professional licensure, and parity to identify the policy areas we hope to shape in order to bring better access to care for all people with OCD and related disorders.
If you would like to help with our efforts, we encourage you to get connected with us! Take our brief online survey at iocdf.org/advocacysurvey and tell us about the issues you care about and how to get in touch with you.