Senator’s bipartisan COMFORT Act solves provider shortage by allowing licensed Military and Family Life Counselors to work outside of their states
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced the bipartisan Comforting Our Families through On-base or Remote Treatment (COMFORT) Act – legislation strengthening access to counseling services on military installations by allowing Military and Family Life counselors to work outside of the state in which they are licensed.
“Frequent moves, long deployments, and intense training can cause extreme stress for many military families, who make incredible sacrifices in service to our nation. Our bipartisan legislation ensures they have access to services that help them navigate the demands of military life,” said Sinema.
The legislation comes as the U.S. continues to experience a nationwide shortage of behavioral health professionals, particularly across military families. Sinema’s COMFORT Act helps meet the demand and solve the provider shortage by allowing the Department of Defense to contract licensed Military and Family Life counselors to serve military installations regardless of where their license originates.
Authorizing license portability among Military and Family Life counselors strengthens access to care as well as the quality and amount of services offered. The bipartisan legislation allows the Department of Defense to surge counselors to locations in response to local traumatic events, natural disasters, or deployments.
In June 2022, Sinema negotiated, wrote, and led the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law – legislation reducing community and school violence by expanding mental and behavioral health resources for vulnerable populations including veterans and servicemembers. In December, Sinema hosted a roundtable with at the Glendale City Court to discuss its new Veterans’ Treatment Court, which Sinema helped advance, and how her Bipartisan Safer Communities law supports such evidence-based approaches to reducing violence.
Sinema’s COMFORT Act has previously earned the support of the Military Coalition (TMC), Healthcare Leadership Council, the National Military Family Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Officers Association of America, Blue Star Families, and the Wounded Warrior Foundation.