On Wednesday, Oct. 16, I had the pleasure of traveling to the State House and participating on a panel to testify to the Joint Committee of Financial Services on behalf of House Bill 3425, Any Willing Provider for Mental Health. I was joined on this panel by Mr. Paul Richard, Executive Director of the Shine Initiative, and three courageous women who described their experiences navigating the mental-health system. If approved, this legislation will require insurance carriers in Massachusetts to provide coverage to any licensed mental-health or substance-abuse provider located within the geographic coverage area of the health benefit plan. This bill would make a positive difference to thousands of Massachusetts residents. Hopefully, our testimony made a positive impact on this committee and they will issue a favorable report.
This opportunity was made possible because of the leadership and hard work of our local state representative, Sheila Harrington. Last year, Rep. Harrington attended an event hosted by Teenage Anxiety and Depression Solutions (TADS), approached TADS Board member, Dr. Steve Liljegren, and asked, "How can I help?" Steve recommended an Any Willing Provider law and Sheila went to work. She wrote the bill and then she recruited Sen. Eileen Donoghue to co-file with her.
Rep. Harrington also testified to the Joint Committee of Financial Services that day. Her testimony revealed that she had done her homework and was well prepared to speak on this issue.
I'd like to express my appreciation to Sheila, not just for her efforts around House Bill 3425, but for her ongoing support of TADS as we strive to address mental-health issues in our community by raising awareness, providing education, and enabling access to care.
(If you'd like more information about House Bill 3425, please check out the TADS web site -- www.tadsma.org. Please also consider writing letters to the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, Sen. Anthony Petrucelli and Rep Michael Costello.
President and Founder
Teenage Anxiety and Depression Solutions