Friday, January 25, 2013

APA Submits Testimony to Congress on the State of America's Health System

APA Medical Director and CEO James H. Scully Jr., M.D., submitted testimony yesterday on behalf of APA to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP Committee) in conjunction with its hearing on the state of the U.S. mental health system. “This hearing comes at a critical time when our leaders in government are faced with difficult choices about where to allocate limited resources,” said Scully. “The current state of our nation’s mental health system is weak and demands immediate and significant attention by Congress and the administration.”

In his testimony, Scully urged issuance of a final rule on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and reintroduction of the Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act, which would increase access to care for people with serious mental illness. APA also supports formation of a new Commission on Mental Health, either presidential or congressional, to conceptualize how the nation’s mental health system can better meet the needs of all Americans. APA, he said, supports investment in biomedical research, ongoing initiatives to develop and implement new treatments for addiction, and state block grants for mental health and substance use services, suicide prevention, and jail-diversion programs for people with mental illness.

He stressed as well that APA strongly backs the preservation of both direct and indirect graduate medical education payments from the government, which fund 16,000 residencies each year. And finally, APA strongly supports efforts to train school personnel to identify early warning signs of violent behavior in children and adolescents.

To read more about the parity law implementation, see Psychiatric News.

(image: APA)


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