Importance: An analysis by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA; 2015a) found that an additional 10,000 mental health care providers will be needed by 2025 to meet the expected growth in demand for treatment of people with mental illness, substance use disorder, or both. Despite being the largest payer of mental health services in the United States, the Medicaid program has extremely low numbers of mental health providers (Frank et al., 2003).
Objective: This Health Policy Perspectives column is a collaboration among academics, clinicians, and students in the fields of occupational therapy and law in an effort to advance state occupational therapy associations’ efforts to gain formal recognition of occupational therapy practitioners as Qualified Mental Health Providers (QMHPs) and/or Qualified Behavioral Health Providers (QBHPs).
Conclusion: Coordination among states to identify barriers and opportunities in this important advocacy effort are needed for continued successful inclusion of occupational therapy practitioners as QMHPs, QBHPs, or both.
What This Article Adds: This column will assist other states in their efforts by providing legislation, strategic advocacy examples, and a course of action.