Mental Health Legislation Passes Overwhelmingly
Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania’s HR 2646 “Helping Families in Mental Health Crises Act” passed the House overwhelmingly. The bill is an attempt to fix a mental health care system by fostering “evidence-based care” in this country that has hit a stalemate in mental health care policy and now has only a “patchwork of antiquated programs and ineffective policies”. Initially, a response to the tragedy in Newtown, CT, this bill was introduced in 2013:
Rep. Timothy Murphy Introducing HR2646 December 12, 2013
Treatment Delayed Is Treatment Denied
This bill smaller than the one originally proposed, but the bill that passed 422-2 still offers many grants that will allow for treatment over a range of mental health and substance abuse programs.
“Our mental health system in this country is a failure, and this is one of those times when we’re not gathered for a moment of silence, but a time of action,” Murphy said Wednesday.“We’re here, finally, to speak up for the last, the lost, the least and the lonely. That is those that suffer from mental illness.”
The Senate has a similar, bipartisan bill from Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) but it remains unclear whether there is time for either bill to pass and become law.
While the allowance for Medicaid to pay for more care at mental health facilities was cut back to less than 15 days, grants for suicide prevention and early childhood detection of mental illness remained in the bill. Also taken out was the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act meant to allow caregivers of a mentally ill patient access to health information. Due to HIPPA concerns, this portion of the bill was sent back for revision.
Initially attached to gun control, this bill comes in the wake of multiple mass shootings in our country. Republicans are for mental health reform that includes gun reform. Their focus being that gun violence will decrease by providing more treatment for the mentally ill. Democrats warn against further stigmatizing the mentally ill. The memorandum written by the subcommittee that was used to write the bill point out that the mentally ill are more often the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. Both parties agreed to set aside the issue of guns to get this bill passed.
Where there is no help, there is no hope.
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