The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) is a historic investment of over $1 billion additional funding for mental health and other school-based services. As the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades, the law expands gun safety measures like increased background checks, and targets interstate gun trafficking. The law also addresses violence more broadly by expanding school-based mental health services, reducing obstacles to schools’ billing for services under Medicaid, and creating a technical assistance center to facilitate compliance and operations. The BSCA treats schools as a key point for observation and intervention.
States can now extend Medicaid’s reach beyond the IEP and tap into Medicaid funding to increase access and resources for comprehensive school-based health services. Despite the considerable increase in funding and additional mental health services for students that this expansion provides, only 18 states have expanded Medicaid’s reach beyond the IEP for school-based health services. To help states to act in order to maximize this historic opportunity, NEA has created a resource that details how affiliates can work with state decision makers to use the BSCA to increase mental health and other services for students, and reduce gun violence in schools and communities. This resource provides recommended actions and includes actions of states successfully moving forward.
To access this resource, go to https://www.nea.org/bsca.