American Health Policy Institute

The Path Forward

A Private Sector Initiative Aimed at Improving Access to Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the U.S., with nearly one in five adults living with a mental illness.  Inadequate mental health and substance use care has generated a crisis over the past decade, with record levels of suicide and drug-related deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of mental health conditions as Americans live in a state of increased stress and isolation. Behavioral health conditions often go undiagnosed and untreated, leaving patients with more serious conditions and rising total health care costs. 

The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use is a private sector initiative aimed at driving market-based improvements in access and care for Americans with behavioral health care needs. The American Health Policy Institute and HR Policy Association have partnered with The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use to advance five evidence-based reforms that will improve early detection and access to more effective behavioral health care. These five reforms are:

  1. Improve in-network access to behavioral health specialists. 
  2. Expand behavioral health integration in primary care using the collaborative care model.
  3. Improve and expand tele-behavioral health. 
  4. Expand screening and testing for behavioral conditions using measurement-based care.
  5. Resolve legacy mental health parity issues including creating a safe harbor status for self-insured ERISA plan sponsors.

The HR Policy Association and the Institute will continue to engage on these issues with stakeholders and policy makers to advance the priorities of The Path Forward and develop solutions to deliver measurable improvements in behavioral health care in the United States.