Mental health advocacy group recognizes six state legislators across the country
STATEHOUSE – Last week, Mental Health America recognized Maine Sen. Trey Stewart for his efforts regarding recent mental health legislation that passed the Maine Legislature earlier this year.
The bill, “An Act To Provide Greater Access to Treatment for Serious Mental Illness by Prohibiting an Insurance Carrier from Requiring Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Protocol,” was co-sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Rosen as well as seven other legislators and signed by Gov. Janet Mills in June.
The Santa Fe, N.M.-based organization held its winter Regional Policy Council meeting, “Crises Equals Opportunity,” on Dec. 1 and Stewart was one of six state legislators across the country who were recognized for their efforts regarding mental health advocacy.
“These legislators are pioneers of model mental health policy in their states,” Debbie Plotnick, MHA’s senior vice president for State and Federal Advocacy, said in a press release. “They are all leading the way in enacting policy that makes mental health systems work better and we appreciate their commitment.”
Stewart said Monday that mental health issues have been a priority of his since he first arrived at the Legislature, and some of the groundwork laid by the recent Maine bill has been extended nationally by the Council of State Governments (CSG). The Council, which is the largest nonpartisan group that serves state elected and appointed officials nationwide, also held its annual meeting in Santa Fe last week and adopted the bill’s framework as part of a national strategy.
“This bill represented serious progress to make sure people with mental illness can lead productive and successful lives without insurance companies requiring that they fail first before accessing needed prescription medications,” Stewart said. “I’m excited to see this bill and Maine lead the way by creating a national model that CSG adopted and has the potential to improve lives across the country.” Mental Health America is a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and substance use conditions, including preventative and early intervention initiatives as well as those surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sen. Trey Stewart is the ranking member of the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services as well as the Energy, Utilities and Technology Joint Standing Committees.