SECTION 1. (a) Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission established to conduct a study and make recommendations on the integration of support groups into the existing health care system. The commission shall consist of the following members, or their designees: the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on public health, who shall serve as co-chairs; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on mental health, substance use and recovery; the secretary of the executive office of health and human services; the assistant secretary for MassHealth; the commissioner of mental health; 2 members of the house of representatives to be appointed by the speaker of the house; 2 members of the senate to be appointed by the senate president; 1 representative of the health policy commission; 1 representative of GPS Group Peer Support, LLC; 1 representative of the National Association of Social Workers; 1 representative of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts; 1 representative of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention; 1 representative of the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery; 1 representative of the Massachusetts Medical Society; 1 representative of the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for Moms; 1 representative of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and 1 representative of the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association.
(b) The commission shall examine and make recommendations on topics including, but not limited to: (i) existing use of support groups, including pilot programs authorized by the executive office of health and human services, and their effect on health care costs and health outcomes; (ii) strategies that the commonwealth could employ to integrate support groups into holistic health care solutions; and (iii) Massachusetts laws and regulations that are currently in place, or could be put in place, that support or hamper the use of support groups to improve healthcare outcomes and bring down costs.
(c) The commission may hold hearings and invite testimony from experts and the public to gather information. The commission may involve other experts, stakeholders and members of the public in its work through listening and working group sessions or any other mechanisms the commission chooses.
(d) The commission shall file its recommendations, including any drafts of legislation or regulations necessary to carry out its recommendations, with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on public health, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on mental health, substance use and recovery and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on health care financing, not later than March 1, 2020.
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