Clinton Sees Role for Telehealth in Advancing Mental Health Agenda

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton rolled out her comprehensive plan for mental health on Wednesday, and telehealth plays an important role in it.

Under the Clinton plan, telehealth would help achieve two policy goals: closing gaps in mental health care availability and improving care coordination.

Clinton’s plan identifies the shortage of mental health providers as a major impediment to care: “Demand for mental health services far outpaces supply, and our health care system lacks the treatment infrastructure and behavioral health workforce necessary to provide adequate care. Of adults experiencing any mental illness today, nearly 60% are untreated.”

In response, Clinton plans to launch a nationwide strategy to bolster the mental health workforce. One component of that strategy is to “disseminate telehealth systems so that providers can reach underserved populations remotely.”

Other elements of the strategy focus on recruiting more persons into the field and expanding loan forgiveness programs, scholarships, training grants, and Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding. It would also expand culturally competent care.

Clinton’s plan promotes the use of health information technology to foster coordination of care. She would adjust payment systems in Medicare, Medicaid, and under the Public Health Service Act to allow for reimbursement of tele-psychiatry and other telehealth services delivered through primary care and hospital settings.

The Clinton plan emphasizes integrating mental health care into the physical health care system so that health care delivery focuses on the whole person. It aims to ensure that high-quality behavioral care—for mental health problems and as well as addiction—is available in general health care settings. The Clinton plan also puts the treatment of mental health on par with that of physical health, for example by strengthening enforcement of mental health parity laws.

Other key elements of the Clinton agenda include a focus on early diagnosis and intervention, a major federal suicide prevention initiative, investments in brain and behavioral research, improvements in the way the criminal justice system deals with people with mental illnesses, and improved access to housing and job opportunities for individuals with mental health problems.


Click here to learn more about Hillary Clinton’s agenda for mental health.


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