Policy UpdatesTexas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services – SB 672

Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services – SB 672

SUMMARY – Meadows Institute CEO Andy Keller, PhD, was invited testimony before the committee on SB 672. Senate Bill 672, relating to Medicaid coverage of certain collaborative care management services, was authored by Senator Dawn Buckingham.


increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety disorder during the pandemic

*as of March 1, 2021

During his presentation to the committee on March 17, 2021, Dr. Keller emphasized the importance of treating the brain in the same way we treat physical health conditions, early and in primary care. On average, treatment occurs 8-10 years after the onset of mental health symptoms.

Dr. Keller discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health, referencing the Meadows Institute’s projections of increased rates of suicide and substance abuse resulting from a COVID-19 recession. Additionally, he noted that recent CDC numbers indicate:

  • The number of people seriously considering suicide doubled during the pandemic
  • Between October 2020 and mid-March 2021, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits increased 24% among children aged 5–11 and 31% among adolescents aged 12–17.

Just as with COVID-19, early detection and treatment for mental health is key. He outlined how the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) is a proven, team-based approach to detect and treat mental illness in primary care and that universal access to CoCM for treatment of major depression could reduce suicide deaths by 725-1,100 per year in Texas. Dr. Keller noted that currently, more than 15 states already offer CoCM in their Medicaid programs.