Policy Positions

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Featured Position Statement

SBM Urges Passage of the PLANT (Peas, Legumes, And Nuts Today) Act

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports the passage of the PLANT Act (H.R.5023), legislation aimed at bolstering the production, research, and development of plant-based foods.


Archived Position Statements by Topic

We Urge Congress to Reform Policing and Increase Funding for Anti-Racist Research

The Society of Behavioral Medicine strongly urges for an end to the use of excessive force by police and other law enforcement personnel. Excessive use of force by police and other law enforcement personnel is a pervasive public health crisis fueled by systemic racism that disproportionately impacts communities of color, with an undeniable bias towards Black Americans. The physical, behavioral, and psychological health effects of systemic racism, unequally experienced by Black people in America, necessitates the need for comprehensive police reform and increased anti-racist research.

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Increase Funding and Access for Intensive Behavioral Counseling to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease-Related Health Inequities

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports increased access to, and reimbursement of, intensive behavioral counseling for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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We Support Paid Family and Medical Leave to Reduce Financial Toxicity of Cancer for Survivors and Caregivers

The Society of Behavioral Medicine strongly urges Congress to pass The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (H.R. 1185/S. 463) in order to expand access to paid medical leave and reduce the financial toxicity of cancer. 

Support Increased Knowledge about and Efforts to Address the Financial Burden Associated with Cancer Treatment

The Society of Behavioral Medicine recommends creating a Medicare cap for cancer treatment costs irrespective of treatment setting; transitioning to clinical pathway payment programs; limiting non-Affordable Care Act compliant short-term health plans; and expanding employer support of cancer treatment.


Congress Should Ensure Affordable Care Act Coverage of Prostate Cancer Screening Support Services for High-Risk Men

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports the United States Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) guideline for the consideration of prostate cancer screening for high-risk men between the ages of 55-69. SBM encourages policymakers to include provisions for coverage of patient navigation services in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to facilitate shared-decision making between providers and patients regarding screening.


Support Increased Knowledge about and Efforts to Address the Financial Burden Associated with Cancer Treatment

The Society of Behavioral Medicine strongly urges legislators to prioritize cancer financial toxicity at the state and national level.


Support Oral Cancer Early-Detection Examinations

SBM calls on healthcare providers and legislators to expand awareness of oral cancer risk factors, increase early detection of oral cancers, support policies that increase utilization of dental services, and enhance education related to oral cancers.


Encourage Lung Cancer Screening in High-Risk Populations

SBM calls for increased lung cancer screening for high risk patients, to reduce cancer deaths. Screening is recommended for those who are 55-80 years of age; have no current cancer symptoms; smoke currently or quit within the last 15 years; and have a 30 pack-year smoking history. Legislators should support the integration of evidence-based tobacco treatment into screening programs, and should increase funding for screening and research. Health care providers should integrate evidence-based tobacco treatment into screening, reduce screening barriers, and counsel patients about the potential benefits and harms associated with screening. The brief is endorsed by the American College of Radiology and the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago.


Increase HPV Vaccination Uptake: An Urgent Opportunity for Cancer Prevention

SBM calls for increased human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates to prevent cancer. The vaccination is recommended for 11- and 12-year-olds. Legislators should advocate for vaccine insurance coverage and adequate provider reimbursement. Health care providers should treat HPV vaccination as a routine vaccination, and should use culturally appropriate communication strategies to educate patients and parents about the vaccine’s importance, effectiveness, and safety. The brief is endorsed by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine.


Support the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s Call to Action to Reach 80% Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates by 2018

In response to the significant colorectal cancer (CRC) burden and persistent underutilization of screening, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s 80% by 2018 initiative sets an important goal for CRC screening in older Americans. SBM supports 80% by 2018 and encourages policymakers and health care providers to implement the recommendations outlined by the initiative.


Retain Support for the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s Call to Action to Reach 80% Colorectal Cancer Screening (2019 Update)

The Society of Behavioral Medicine encourage the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) to reevaluate the evidence and age recommendation for initiating CRC screening given data suggesting that CRC is developing at an increasing rate among younger adults. USPSTF recommendations inform Medicaid coverage for preventative services and testing.


Ban Indoor Tanning for Minors

SBM supports a total ban on indoor tanning for minors under the age of 18. Strong evidence links indoor tanning to increased risk for melanoma. Repeated exposure during childhood is associated with the greatest increase in risk.


Promote sun safety policies and practices for youth in educational, childcare, and recreational settings

The Society of Behavioral Medicine recommends that youth be allowed and encouraged to engage in sun-safe behaviors in educational, childcare, and recreational settings, including use of sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, other sun-protective clothing, and shade.


Healthcare Facilities Should Adopt Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment Standards

The Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM) encourages the adoption of the accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment (MDE)Standards for all primary, diagnostic and specialty healthcare, including cancer care, settings to improve healthcare delivery to people with mobility disabilities.

Prevent Non-Communicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

The Society of Behavioral Medicine strongly urges inclusion of behavioral scientists in the implementation of the Global Action Plan for the prevention of non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries.

Integrate Community Health Workers into the Patient-Centered Medical Home

SBM supports expanding the use of community health workers to enhance primary care, prevention, and chronic disease management programs within patient-centered medical homes to improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary utilization of resources.


Integrate Peer Support in Prevention and Health Care Under the Affordable Care Act

SBM recommends the inclusion of community health workers and other providers of peer support as a regular part of prevention and routine care. This brief is co-authored with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, National Council of La Raza, and Peers for Progress.

Develop, Bolster, and Enforce Policies and Programs That Promote Vaccination Adherence

To reduce vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States, vaccination coverage must be improved. The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) urges local, state, and federal governments and other organizations to implement and strengthen vaccination-promoting policies and programs.


Provide Funding for Incentive Programs to Expand Healthy Food Offerings in SNAP-Authorized Small Food Stores

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) supports the funding of incentive programs for SNAP-authorized small food stores to support the expansion and maintenance of healthy food retail in low-income communities.


End the Fatal Paradox: Change the Names of our Federal Institutes on Addiction

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports the removal of the term “abuse” from the National Institutes of Health and related federal administrations pertaining to addiction and replacement with more neutral and nonstigmatizing terminology.


Congress Should Restrict ICE from Entering Medical Facilities

SBM calls for Congress to restrict Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from engaging with immigrants in or around health care settings, including: hospitals, community-based clinics, ambulances, pharmacies, physical therapy and mental health and addiction treatment practices, and rehabilitation facilities.


Increase Funding for Fruit and Vegetable Production in Farm Bill Reauthorization

SBM recommends that reauthorization of the federal Farm Bill include funding allocations for increasing fruit and vegetable production, which can increase Americans’ fruit and vegetable intake and improve health.


Increase Funding for the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

SBM recommends increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research to promote timely and effective behavioral health research that can reduce chronic disease in the United States.


Increase Funding for Medicaid and CHIP to Help Families

Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) help families afford health care, avoiding financial strain and health problems. Congress must increase Medicaid and CHIP funding, and extend CHIP funding through at least 2022.


Protect Funding for SNAP, WIC, and School Breakfast/Lunch to Help Low-Income Children

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and school breakfast/lunch programs allow low-income children to access healthy food. Congress must fund them properly.


Retain and Enhance Efforts to Increase Broadband Internet Availability for Health Care Access in Rural Areas

SBM, the International Society of Behavioral Medicine (ISBM), and the American Medical Informatics Association(AMIA) call on federal legislators to appropriate funds to increase internet access for the most vulnerable rural populations in the United States.


SBM Supports the Updated Hypertension Guidelines and Recommends Modifications to Medicare Part B for Lifestyle Counseling Approaches for Hypertension Management

The Society of Behavioral Medicine calls on legislators to modify Medicare Part B to support evidence-based lifestyle counseling to improve blood pressure control among adults with hypertension.

Society of Behavioral Medicine Supports Increasing Access to Care for Patients with Opioid Use Disorder

SBM supports passing the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act and continuing to allow qualified providers to prescribe Medication-Assisted Treatments (MATs) through telehealth visits.

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SBM Recommends Telehealth Payment Parity for Patients with Chronic Conditions During and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

SBM supports extension of reimbursement payment parity for telehealth and telebehavioral health services to ensure patients receive high-quality, equitable care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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SBM Urges Congress to Take Measures to Support Healthy Weight Status to Prevent COVID-19 Deaths

SBM supports increased federal funding for 1) nutrition assistance programs; 2) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) coverage of telehealth and telephone-delivered obesity prevention and treatment; 3) research to reduce the impact of obesity on COVID-19 deaths.

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Joint Recommendation to Increase Federal Efforts to Promote Physical Activity During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Physical activity bolsters immune function and supports coping with stressful life events, but it has declined during COVID-19 pandemic. The Society of Behavioral Medicine and Physical Activity Alliance recommend federal government action to prioritize and fund physical activity research and to coordinate physical activity promotion in multiple sectors, including health care.

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Increasing Diet Quality through Pandemic-EBT benefit, SNAP, and School Meals during and after COVID-19

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) recommends including more nutrient-dense foods in the Pandemic-EBT and SNAP benefit, as well as maintaining the meal pattern requirements of child nutrition programs to increase diet quality while also reducing food insecurity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Increase Access to Mental Health Services due to COVID-19-Related Parent and Family Stress

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports increased mental health services access via expansion of Community Behavioral Health Clinics; enhanced funding for Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers and School Based Health Centers; in-state licensing waivers; and incentivizing provider participation in Medicaid.

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Ensuring Safety and Support for Intimate Partner Violence Survivors during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Society of Behavioral Medicine calls on the U.S. Congress to increase funding and support for intimate partner violence survivors by passing the HEROES act, strengthening the Family Abuse Prevention Act, and expanding the Violence Against Women Act.

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The Society of Behavioral Medicine Recommends Increased Access To Federal Food Assistance During And After The COVID-19 Pandemic

To support food security, the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) recommends increased access to federal food assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Pandemic EBT, and the National School Lunch Program during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Society of Behavioral Medicine Statement on COVID-19 and Rural Health

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports increased healthcare funding, enhanced Broadband internet infrastructure, and enforcement of industry-related COVID mitigation practices to address gaps in rural health service delivery and stem the spread of disease.


Protect At-Risk Populations from Extreme Heat During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports the implementation of short- and long-term policy solutions to protect at-risk populations from extreme heat events during the COVID-19 pandemic.  


We Call for Equitable Healthcare during COVID-19 Pandemic

The Society of Behavioral Medicine urges research on disparities in COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality outcomes. We also call for policy actions to enable proactive remediation of healthcare disparities.  

Expand U.S. Health Plan Guidelines for Coverage of Diabetes-Related Medications and Supplies

The Society of Behavioral Medicine support legislation that requires public and private insurers to expand coverage guidelines and lower out-of-pocket costs for diabetes-related supplies and medications to increase access and reduce financial burden on persons with diabetes. 

Increase US Health Plan Coverage of the National Diabetes Prevention Program for Individuals with Prediabetes

SBM supports legislation and policies that encourage all insurers in all states to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program as a fully covered benefit for all individuals with prediabetes.


Expand U.S. Health Plan Coverage for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support

SBM encourages legislation and other policies that require Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers to reimburse for diabetes self-management education and that support 12 hours each year for everyone with diabetes.

Pass the RESTORE Act (Re-Entry Support Through Opportunities for Resources and Essentials Act)

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports legislation that would repeal the lifetime ban on receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for individuals convicted of a drug felony.

Prioritize “Food is Medicine” Initiatives in the 2023 Farm Bill for Human and Planetary Health

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports funding for policies in the 2023 Farm Bill that align with a Food is Medicine framework and address multiple dimensions of human and planetary health.

Modernize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to Reduce Food Access Inequities

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports modernizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to expand food access and promote utilization, via online redemption options, developed through co-design processes with technological support to ensure quality implementation.

Support Policies to Increase Nutrient-Dense Food Access Across Federal Food Assistance Programs.

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports policies to enhance consistent access, availability, and affordability of foods/beverages that promote well-being, via greater access to nutrient-rich foods across federal food assistance programs.

Permanently Increase WIC's Cash Value Benefit for Fruit and Vegetable Purchases

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports a permanent increase in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children’s (WIC) cash value benefit (CVB) for fruit and vegetable purchases through revision of the WIC Food Package.

Support Child Nutrition Programs, Evidence-Based Nutrition Standards and Expanded Access to School Meals

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports expanding school meal access; funding school kitchen upgrades and nutrition programming; and establishing evidence-based school meal nutrition standards to improve nutrition and food security and reduce diet-related chronic disease risk.


The Society of Behavioral Medicine Does Not Support “Public Charge Rule” Changes Affecting Immigrants’ Food Security

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) does not support recent changes to the “Public Charge Rule” and supports removal of non-cash safety net programs from the rule.


2018 Update: Retain School Meal Standards and Healthy School Lunches

SBM supports the U.S. school meal nutrition standards in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. New evidence confirms that changes implemented as a result of the act have improved the dietary quality of school meals without increasing plate waste.


Enact Taxes on Sugary Drinks to Prevent Chronic Disease

Consumption of sugary drinks has a detrimental effect on public health by increasing risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes,2 coronary heart disease, and fatty liver disease. Sugary drinks are the largest single source of added sugars in the United States, and account for almost half of all added sugars consumed in the United States.


Retain Healthy School Lunch Policies

SBM supports the retention of the current school lunch standards set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. SBM further recommends that schools promote traditional and innovative nutrition education formats, repeatedly encourage the consumption of healthful foods, and make small environmental changes in lunchrooms to make more healthful eating accessible, attractive, and normative.

Expand Access to Telehealth-Delivered Treatment for Bariatric Surgery

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports expanded access to telehealth services for patients seeking bariatric surgery. Expanded access requires the Senate supporting the Telehealth Modernization Act, reducing regulatory barriers across states lines, and extending payment parity.


Curbing Summertime Weight Gain among America’s Youth

SBM recommends school officials, community leaders, and legislators adopt policies that enhance youth summer programming to minimize the amount of weight children gain over the summer. Policies should encourage school-community partnerships, family outreach, joint use of facilities, and adherence to healthy eating and physical activity standards. The brief is endorsed by the National Summer Learning Association.


Early Care and Education Policies Can Impact Obesity Prevention among Preschool-Aged Children

SBM recommends early care and education settings provide healthy foods in age-appropriate portions; increase physical activity during childcare hours to as close to 120 minutes per day as possible; decrease sedentary behavior to no more than 30 minutes at a time; and decrease entertainment screen time in childcare to less than 30 minutes weekly.


Educate Health Care Providers about Behavioral Treatments for Obesity

The Society of Behavioral Medicine strongly urges health professional educators and accrediting agencies to include obesity/overweight management education for primary care clinicians.


Modify the CMS Decision to Cover Intensive Behavior Therapy for Obesity

SBM supports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) decision to cover intensive behavior therapy for obesity but has significant concerns. SBM urges modifications to include providers who have expertise in weight control (e.g., psychologists and dietitians) and to expand the treatment time to better match protocols with confirmed efficacy.

SBM Supports Increasing Funding to Expand Evidence-Based, Developmentally-Appropriate Opioid and Substance Use Treatments for Youth

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports allocating funding to increase access to evidence-based opioid and substance use treatment that is culturally informed and developmentally tailored for youth to enhance long-term health and prevent drug-related fatalities.


Improving Access to Psychosocial Care for Individuals with Persistent Pain: Supporting the National Pain Strategy Call for Interdisciplinary Pain Care

Persistent pain is common, expensive, and debilitating, yet is often inadequately assessed and treated. Growing concerns regarding prescription opioid misuse/abuse and opioid-related fatalities have initiated a re-evaluation of the long-term efficacy and potential risks of opioids in the management of pain.


Help Address the Opioid Crisis by Increasing Funding for Medication-Assisted-Treatment

SBM and the Society for Health Psychology call on federal legislators to help fix the opioid crisis by increasing Medicaid funding for medication-assisted-treatment, which combines behavioral and pharmacological treatments to address opioid-related health problems. Legislators must also declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency and not just a public health emergency; this would provide immediate access to billions of dollars in federal monies for treatment programs.

Increase United States Health Plan Coverage for Exercise Programming in Community Mental Health Programs for People with Serious Mental Illness

SBM encourages legislation and policies for Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers to reimburse exercise programming for people with serious mental illness treated in community mental health programs. This brief is co-authored with the American College of Sports Medicine.


School-Based Physical Activity Improves Academic Achievement

SBM recommends elementary schools provide as many of the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity during school hours as possible.


Support Robust, Well-Designed, Safe and Accessible Community Parks

Considerable research shows people of all ages and across all races and ethnicities are more active when they can access parks. Park use also facilitates a healthy weight status.

Improve Accessibility to Evidence-Based Treatment for Insomnia Disorder

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports increasing access to evidence-based treatment of insomnia by addressing barriers at the patient, provider, and systemic level including support from the government agencies to raise awareness about sleep and sleep disorders, health payors providing fair reimbursement for evidence-based insomnia assessment and therapy consistent with standard care recommendations, and relevant training programs to prioritize sleep education.

Protect Abortion Rights

The Society of Behavioral Medicine strongly opposes the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision through its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. With the overturning of Roe, SBM supports increasing access to abortion services in states where abortion remains legal, expanding telehealth for medication abortion services, safe haven laws protecting patients seeking abortions and healthcare providers caring for them, and increasing National Institutes of Health funding for research on the impact of restricted abortion rights on inequities in maternal morbidity and mortality.

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Expand and Extend Postpartum Medicaid to Support Maternal and Child Health

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports federal regulation to ensure 12 months of postpartum Medicaid continuation coverage in support of maternal and child health.

Start Middle and High Schools Later for Better Student Health and Learning

SBM recommends school officials start middle and high school classes at 8:30 a.m. or later. Such a schedule promotes students’ sleep, resulting in improvements in physical health, psychological well-being, attention and concentration, academic performance, and driving safety.

Reducing Smoking Disparities for Gender and Sexual Minorities

SBM supports policies that reduce smoking disparities for gender and sexual minorities. Policies should make sure such individuals are included in all local, state, and national tobacco prevention and control activities including use/cessation surveillance, outreach campaigns, product regulations, clean air acts, and healthcare provider training.

Strengthening Gun Safety Policies to Reduce Domestic Violence-Related Injuries and Deaths

The Society of Behavioral Medicine supports stronger policies to enhance the safety of families and communities in the US through the implementation of stronger measures to prevent access to and use of firearms among individuals at risk for domestic or interpersonal violence.


Restore CDC Funding for Firearms and Gun Violence Prevention Research

Firearms injuries are the leading cause of non-medical deaths in America, surpassing motor vehicle accidents for the first time in history1. Data from five years of CDC statistics estimate that 91 Americans are killed every day by gun violence, over 33,000 deaths per year.