Mental Illness bill introduced by Oregon's Senator Peter DeFazio

Diane DeVillers
Posted December 15, 2015 from United States

A message from Peter DeFazio about his bill for the mentally ill

Thank you for contacting me with your support for H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. I appreciate hearing from you. You will be pleased to know that I am a cosponsor of this legislation.

As you may know, H.R. 2646was created to fixour broken mental health care system by increasing funding and support for patients and families in need of mental health services. This legislationwould implementacomplete overhaulofour nationalmental health system, starting withthe creation of an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health position within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Assistant Secretary would be responsible and accountable for all HHS mental health programs and policies and would be required to report to Congress on findings. H.R. 2646 would alsoexpand Medicaid to cover psychiatric hospital servicesfor adults andgivenecessary power to families to be front-line caregivers.

Additionally,thislegislationprovides support for advances in behavioral health clinics, medical research on mental health, and tele-psychiatry access. H.R. 2646wouldalsorequireemphasizingtreating mental health patients in the healthcare system and not in jail, providing necessary criminal justice reforms.

As a member of the Mental Health Caucus I have consistently fought for increased access to mental health services and increased funding for mental health research. I was a strong supporter of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against Americans who need mental health treatment. I have also supported efforts to ensure psychologists and other mental health providers have access to federal incentives to adopt electronic health records and are able to bill Medicare for services that they are legally authorized to perform without physician supervision requirements.

We cannot afford to ignore mental illness and the tragedies that may ensue if it is left untreated.H.R. 2646wouldinitiatethe major reforms needed to fix our failing mental health system.You can be sureI will continue to work with the Mental Health Caucus and the rest of my colleagues toensure thatmental health services are available to any and every American who needs them.

Thanks again for writing. Please continue to keep in touch.


U.S. REPRESENTATIVE PETER DeFAZIO Fourth Congressional District, Orego

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