WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from: Mark Covall, President and CEO, National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS).
Last night the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed (392-26) a set of mental health reforms and addiction funding as part of the sweeping 21st Century Cures Act.
As an association representing professionals and facilities delivering behavioral health care, the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) congratulates the House for bringing one step closer to reality both long-needed mental health reforms and $1 billion over two years to address the national impact of opiates, alcohol, and other drugs.
The mental health reforms incorporated into the 21st Century Cures Act are based on the groundbreaking work of Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who have spearheaded the effort to match policies with the needs of individuals and families who live with mental and addictive disorders. We applaud Reps. Murphy and Johnson, who were co-authors of the House's Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, for their leadership. And we thank House Republicans and Democrats for working tirelessly to advance bipartisan reform.
The House-passed bill includes, among other things, key mental health provisions that we believe will be significant.
The bill would create both an Assistant Secretary on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders and a Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. This will help to elevate behavioral health issues as part of overall health policy and emphasize the importance of treatment for serious behavioral health disorders.
The bill also includes several provisions to help implement and enforce the federal mental health parity law (the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act). More guidance to help all stakeholders understand the requirements of the law, improved audits to ensure health plans' compliance, and development of a federal action plan for improved federal and state enforcement coordination are among the requirements of the House-passed bill. We believe improved transparency and communication will be key to ensuring that consumers benefit from the full protection of the law.
The Cures Act bill also includes grants for critical areas such as suicide prevention.
In addition, the bill includes $1 billion in funding over two years to implement the provisions of the landmark Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (P.L.114-198), which passed into law earlier this year.
We urge the Senate to bring comprehensive mental health reform legislation and addiction funding, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, to the floor immediately so that a final bill can be passed into law this year. Lives are at stake, and there is bipartisan support for action.
The National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) 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. See www.naphs.org for more information.
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SOURCE National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS)