NYAPRS Federal Mental Health Legislative, Budget Update

Federal Legislation

According to Politico, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are working to craft bill language for Senate review later in the spring that will “probably be packaged with related bills from other committees before going to the floor.

The bill will apparently include elements of Senate mental health legislation previously proposed by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La), but will also look at mental health workforce shortages and the opioid epidemic.

Deep partisan divides and debate continues on Rep. Tim Murphy’s House legislation on the high cost of expanding Medicaid funding to pay for hospital beds in state and private psychiatric facilities and regarding HIPAA and outpatient commitment proposals.


Federal Budget

President Obama’s 2017 last budget proposal, includes the following, according to a White House news release,

“Expanding Access to Mental Health Care. One in five American adults experience a mental health issue at some point in their life, yet millions do not receive the care they need. The Budget includes $500 million in new mandatory funding to help engage individuals with serious mental illness in care, improve access to care by increasing service capacity and the behavioral health workforce, and ensure that behavioral health care systems work for everyone.

Addressing the Prescription Drug and Heroin Overdose Epidemic. More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes. The Budget takes a two-pronged approach to address this epidemic.  First, it includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use and help ensure that every American who wants treatment can access it and get the help they need.  Second, it includes funding to continue and increase current efforts to expand State-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities.”