March 16, 2016

Senate Health Committee Passes Cassidy’s Mental Health Reform Act

WASHINGTON –Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed legislation to help address the country’s mental health crisis and help ensure Americans suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders receive the care they need. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. introduced the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 with Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) this week.
“Our mental health system is broken—the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 begins to fix it,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We have all seen a promising life destroyed by untreated mental illness. Destroying not just the person, but also their family. By focusing and making resources available for patients and families, we can help restore mental health to the emotionally broken. I thank Senators Murphy, Alexander and Murray for joining me in this priority.”
Watch Dr. Cassidy’s remarks in the Senate markup here and see information below.
Ensures that mental health programs are effectively serving those with mental illness: The bill will improve coordination between federal agencies and departments that provide grants and services for individuals with mental illness, and will improve accountability and evaluations of mental health programs.
Helps states meet the needs of those suffering from mental illness: This bill helps to ensure that federal dollars support states in providing quality mental health care for individuals suffering from mental illness by updating the block grant for states.
Promotes the use of evidence-based approaches, promising best practices in mental health care: The bill requires that the federal agencies and programs involved in mental health policy incorporate the most up-to-date and evidence-based approaches for treating mental illness, and requires that agency leadership include mental health professionals who have practical experience.
Improves access to mental health care: The bill improves access to care for individuals including veterans and service members, homeless individuals, women, and children. It also helps improve the training for those who care for individuals with mental illnesses and substance use disorders, and promotes better enforcement of existing mental health parity laws.
Click HERE for a summary of the bill.