House Dems to Release Their Own Mental Health Bill

According to Politico, House Democrats will be releasing their own version of a mental health reform bill that will reportedly emphasize early intervention and workforce-training programs and advances Medicaid mental health innovations.


It will apparently not expand or incentivize outpatient commitment programs (sometimes called AOT) or limit the good work of Protection and Advocacy groups, in contrast to the proposal advanced earlier this year by Congressman Tim Murphy (H.R.2646). It may extend a demonstration program that examines the impact of using Medicaid funds to pay for state and private psychiatric beds, rather than to advance the policy nationally.


It will reportedly create an Assistant Secretary position for mental health that will be a dual role for SAMHSA’s Administrator, and not dismantle the federal agency as has been proposed by Congressman Murphy.


And it will apparently include proposal previously advanced by Rep. Doris Matsui that requires extensive provider, consumer and family education about the often misunderstood range of information sharing that current HIPAA law affords, rather than statutorily changing the program.


We will be looking to see if the bill also proposes Medicaid enhancements for expanding certain community services and housing subsidies.


Stay tuned for more details after the bill’s release.