WASHINGTON, July 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Mark Covall, president and CEO of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS):
Today the U.S. House of Representatives' approved with a 422-2 bipartisan vote the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R.2646. As an association representing professionals and facilities delivering behavioral health care, the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) congratulates the House for bringing long-needed reforms one step closer to reality.
In particular, we want to thank Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), co-authors of the legislation, for their tireless leadership in developing a bill that moves our country toward the types of reforms that can ultimately save lives, communities, and money. We also applaud both Democrats and Republicans in the House for supporting critical legislation that will make a real difference in the lives of individuals and families who live with mental and addictive disorders.
The House bill creates a framework for immediate changes as well as long-term reform.
Among other things, this important legislation will help to ensure that the vast majority of adult Medicaid beneficiaries with mental and addictive disorders will be able to access short-term, acute care in psychiatric hospitals (something that is currently restricted). The bill will accomplish this by codifying into law changes related to the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion included in a recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) final rule on Medicaid managed care.
The House legislation will also emphasize the importance of treatment for serious behavioral health disorders and the importance of coordinating federal agencies' mental health and substance use public policy by creating an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.
In addition, the legislation calls for health plans to be more transparent in how they are conforming to the requirements of the federal parity law (the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act). Additional provisions address suicide prevention, workforce development, and privacy.
We urge the Senate to bring comprehensive mental health reform legislation to the floor as soon as possible so that a final bill can be passed into law this year. Helping Americans access the right treatment for mental and addictive disorders is good public policy, and there is bipartisan support for change.
The National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems advocates for behavioral health and represents provider systems that are committed to the delivery of responsive, accountable, and clinically effective prevention, treatment, and care for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults with mental and substance use disorders. Its members are behavioral healthcare provider organizations that own or manage more than 800 specialty psychiatric hospitals, general hospital psychiatric and addiction treatment units and behavioral healthcare divisions, residential treatment facilities, youth services organizations, and extensive outpatient networks. The association was founded in 1933.
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SOURCE National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS)