WASHINGTON—Today, US Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) announced the inclusion of comprehensive mental health reform in the 21st Century Cures Act.
“Our mental health system is broken—the inclusion of the pillars of my mental health reform bill in the 21st Century Cures Act is the next step in getting it fixed,” said Dr. Cassidy. “By making resources available for patients and families, we can help prevent more promising lives from being destroyed by untreated mental illness.”
Dr. Cassidy has been a leader on comprehensive mental health care reform in the Senate. Last March, Dr. Cassidy along with Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), introduced the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 to the United States Senate.
Dr. Cassidy has also been an longtime advocate for mental health reform, speaking on the floor to urge his colleagues to support much needed legislation. More on his remarks here.
In 2015, Senator Cassidy and Murphy wrote an Op-Ed in The Hill on their plan for mental health reform.
The full 21st Century Cures Act legislation can be read here.
Some of the key provisions Dr. Cassidy fought for include:
· Strengthening leadership and accountability at HHS by creating an Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and improving interdepartmental activities related to those with serious mental illness
· Promoting access to services through integration of primary and behavioral care for early identification and invention and increased availability of telehealth.
· Ensuring that federal funded programs are evidence-based and use best practices.
· Providing incentives to build an adequate and skilled mental health workforce.