September 2017
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07:39:57 am

Congressmen Introduce Competing Mental Health Bills

(Photo11: Charlie Leight) Barber's bill has the support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention , the National Association for Rural Mental Health , the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors. The bill from Murphy, a child psychologist, would create a new Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders , who would control mental health funding and report annually to Congress. That would shift power away the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which currently administers mental health grants to states. Murphy says some of these grants are wasteful and aren't supported by good homepage medical evidence. The bill would require states that get federal mental health grants to change their standards for involuntary psychiatric commitment, allowing people to be hospitalized against their will when they need treatment, not simply when they pose a danger to themselves or others the standard in about half of states. That change could allow patients to get care sooner, Murphy says. Murphy's bill also aims to provide family caregivers with more information about their loved ones' care, by clarifying privacy rules set out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Today, Murphy says, privacy rules lead families to be shut out of their children's care, when kids are as young as 14. Murphy's bill would also make changes to Medicaid funding, allowing psychiatric hospitals to be reimbursed for short-term care.

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