Assemblymember McMahon Urges Federal Lawmakers to Fund Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorders

August 6, 2020

Assemblymember Karen McMahon (D-Amherst/Pendleton) is advocating for federal funds for behavioral health care and substance use disorders.

In a letter to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Assemblymember McMahon and Assemblymember Nily Rozic (D-Queens) reminded the Senators that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the overall mental health of our communities. Cases of addiction and overdoses are on the rise, as well as anxiety, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In her letter, Assemblymember McMahon calls for the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program and expansion of eligibility for all 501(c)s including those with over 500 employees, passage of the HEROES Act including unrestricted state aid, and a provision to continue telehealth policies through the end of 2021.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on virtually every aspect of life. We cannot let it continue to ravage the mental health of our community, as well. Behavioral health providers are needed now more than ever,” said Assemblymember McMahon. “Large behavioral health providers, such as Horizon Health Services in my district, are struggling to keep up with increasing behavioral and substance use disorders in the face of diminished funding. Expanding the Paycheck Protection Program to include them and funding to the states in the HEROES Act will help them continue to provide services to our friends and neighbors who are suffering during these difficult times.”

“We are grateful to Assemblymembers McMahon and Rozic for their continued advocacy and support of funding as the behavioral health industry faces an increased, critical need during these unprecedented times,” said Anne Constantino, CEO and President of Horizon Health Services. “Addiction and mental health disorders have been exacerbated by the pandemic. It is vital that the federal government provide funding to New York so that we can continue providing telehealth and in-person care to patients in WNY.”

Assemblymembers McMahon and Rozic were joined in their request by 19 other Assembly members from Western New York and across New York State.