Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

October 27, 2021

Senator Lesser Receives Legislative Leadership Award

This morning, state Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) received the Legislative Leadership Award following his work around mental health issues. Members of ‘Keep The Promise Coalition’ presented the award to Senator Lesser virtually during an awards ceremony.

Senator Lesser worked on legislation along with Representatives Sean Scanlon and Brenda Kupchick that was signed into law in 2019 that ensures insurance coverage for people in the state suffering from mental health and substance use disorder conditions as they would for other illnesses. The law – known as the “Mental Health Parity Act” – delivers parity for behavioral healthcare, recognizing that mental health and substance use conditions are equal to physical illnesses.

The bill requires that insurance companies not place more stringent limits on mental health and substance use disorder benefits than for medical and surgical benefits. It also requires insurance coverage of substance abuse services if required by a court. Lastly, the bill requires that insurance companies file annual reports with the state certifying that they are complying with parity.

This past session, Senator Lesser led debate on legislation that will extend telehealth services in Connecticut for another two years. The legislation passed with unanimous bipartisan support. This extension allows health care providers and patients to continue using a vital tool for Connecticut residents seeking health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, those who are unable to leave their home, may be able to continue using telehealth services for not only physical health but mental health reasons.

Telehealth has helped facilitate providing numerous health care needs including, but not limited to: diagnosis, consultation and treatment, and self-management of a patient’s mental health. This virtual practicing of medicine continues to be a critical tool in connecting state residents with health care should they need to use online services for mental health purposes.