Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rep. Murphy Pushes for Comprehensive MH Reform Law

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.-18) will reintroduce in Congress the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, a comprehensive reform of the American mental health system.

Murphy outlined the proposed bill as he was awarded the 2014 Torrey Advocacy Commendation by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, at a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

“We must turn a system of pessimism, closed doors, and bureaucratic hurdles into one that embraces innovation, evidence-based care, and a spectrum of treatment options that fits the patient’s needs,” said Murphy.

In response, APA President Paul Summergrad, M.D., announced that APA’s Board of Trustees had voted unanimously last month to support Murphy’s bill.

“We hope for broad bipartisan support for something that should be above partisan politics,” said Summergrad. “APA’s psychiatric physicians will be there every step of the way to get this task accomplished.”

The bill has provisions for improving community services and integrating them with primary care, protecting access to psychiatric medications under Medicare and Medicaid, reauthorizing suicide prevention programs, and expanding research at the National Institute of Mental Health, said Murphy.

Other provisions include implementing mental health parity and monitoring its enforcement, ending the shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds, and expanding the mental health workforce.

Murphy asked for help from professional and patient groups to advocate for the legislation.

“I will not rest, nor yield, nor turn my back until we solve this problem,” he said.

(Image: Aaron Levin)


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