The Gist: State Representatives Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth) and Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) have introduced House Bill 520 to continue reforming Georgia’s mental health care delivery system and address workforce shortages.
The Bill: House Bill 520 would expand Georgia’s mental health care loan forgiveness program for providers. It would also create new authorities for sharing and collecting data, as well as establish rules for transferring data in compliance with federal and state law. The legislation also includes a funding mechanism for crisis services in three counties.
What It Does: The bill aims to incentivize mental health care workers to stay in Georgia and alleviate the educational costs of becoming qualified for the field. The legislation also seeks to improve workforce protection, development, and expansion.
Why It Matters: The mental health care workforce in Georgia is struggling to keep up with the growing demand for care. House Bill 520 would help expand the workforce and improve access to mental health care services in the state.
Who are the sponsors?: The legislation is sponsored by State Representatives Todd Jones and Mary Margaret Oliver. It is also co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration, House Minority Leader James Beverly, and House members in the Georgia Mental Health Caucus.
More Information: The Mental Health Parity Act championed by late Speaker Ralston and Reps. Jones and Oliver during the 2022 legislative session serves as the foundation for House Bill 520. The legislation also has the support of Speaker Jon Burns.