Next week, pediatricians across Massachusetts will begin offering mental health screenings for MassHealth children, mandated by the federal Rosie D v. Romney lawsuit.
Early screenings for potential mental health problems, while important, will not address the full scope of the problem. As Dr. David DeMaso, Children’s Hospital Boston’s chief of psychiatry said in today’s Globe article, identifying more children with mental health issues “creates a potential additional access problem.”
HCFA, along with 90+ members of the Children’s Mental Health Campaign, supports legislation to make systemic changes in how Massachusetts cares for kids with mental health needs. In particular, the legislation will:
- Give schools new tools to help students with mental health needs
- Expand capacity of pre-schools to identify mental health needs
- Establish a single point person in state government to oversee children’s mental health issues
- Improve insurance coverage for children with mental health needs
H. 4276, An Act Relative to Children’s Mental Health, is now awaiting action by the Legislature’s Committee on Health Care Financing. It’s important that the legislature act quickly to move H. 4276 before the annual budget process overwhelms all other work.
The children’s mental health system needs big changes. Screenings are a start, and we need to do more to really help our kids.