Tuesday, December 13, 2016

APA Applauds Signing of Mental Health Reform Law

President Barack Obama today signed the wide-ranging $6 billion 21st Century Cures Act into law, a week after it passed by overwhelming margins in both the House of Representatives and Senate. The law includes significant mental health components.

The president thanked Democrats and Republicans who had worked together on the legislation.

“I’m confident it will lead to better years and better lives for millions of Americans,” said Obama at the White House signing ceremony. “I hope in the years ahead, Congress keeps working together in a bipartisan fashion to move us forward and not backward in the health of our people.”

Among other provisions, the law will increase coordination among federal agencies responsible for treating mental illness by establishing medical leadership in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, improving how the federal government finances and manages evidence-based mental health services, promoting workforce development and integrated care, and strengthening enforcement of parity.

“It was an honor to see the president sign this significant piece of legislation,” said APA President Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D., who attended the ceremony. “This marks the passage of the first mental health reform bill in more than 50 years and is long overdue. We should enjoy this moment, but that does not mean our work is over.”

For more in Psychiatric News about mental health legislation, see “House Approves Comprehensive Mental Health Reform Bill.”

(Image: Aaron Levin/PN)


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