Thursday, February 26, 2015

Congressman and Senator Come Together to Discuss Forthcoming MH Legislation

A congressman and a senator working on parallel tracks for comprehensive mental health care reform made their bipartisan case in a Washington discussion today.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said he plans to reintroduce his bipartisan Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act in March.

“We are going line by line, tweaking the bill now,” said Murphy, a psychologist, in a presentation organized by The Hill, a newspaper that covers national politics. “The legislation could move this year.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) praised his House counterpart for the expertise and attention he has brought to a complicated issue and said he is working on a “substantially similar” bill in the Senate. (The two men are not related, they pointed out.)

Expanding the mental health workforce, reducing barriers to accessing care, increasing the number of inpatient psychiatric beds, integrating primary and mental health care, and solving reimbursement problems were all critical components of a comprehensive bill, both legislators agreed.

“We can pass comprehensive mental health reform,” said Sen. Murphy, whose home state was the site of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. “I hope we don’t have another tragedy before we make common-sense changes in the mental health system.”

They expressed a willingness to work with both Democratic and Republican colleagues.

“There is no party loyalty on this issue,” said Rep. Murphy. “This is all about helping people and bringing the system into the 21st century.”

For more in Psychiatric News about the progress of mental health legislation, see "Author of House Mental Health Bill Addresses APA Assembly."


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