The Improving Access to Remote Behavioral Health Treatment Act of 2019 (HR 4131, 116th Congress) would amend the Controlled Substances Act, which allows for substances to be regulated and classified, to explain the registration eligibility of qualified community mental health centers. In this bill, a "qualified community mental health center" is defined as one that meets the criteria specified in either the Public Health Service Act or the Protecting Access to Medicare Act and is recognized by a state government.
Under this bill, the Department of Justice (DOJ) would register qualified community mental health centers to administer controlled substances through telemedicine. Telemedicine is a method for patients to communicate with their providers remotely. If registering a qualified community health center is “inconsistent with the public interest” then the DOJ may also deny any application after considering:
- Recommendations by the licensing board or authority of the state;
- How mental health centers treat patients;
- Conviction of a mental health center employee under federal or state law; and
- Any other conduct that may pose a threat to the public.
The proposed amendments in this bill would take effect 120 days after the enactment of this bill.