Safety

Mental healthcare bill passes U.S. House

Hospital Safety Insider, July 7, 2016

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A bill that would reform mental healthcare in the United States, and potentially address a nationwide shortage of psychiatric beds and child psychiatrists, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a 422-2 vote on July 7, according to a report from Time magazine.

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), a licensed child psychologist, would address a perennial issue in emergency rooms across the country, as an overwhelming amount of behavioral health patients end up there for primary care issues.

According to the report, legislators are calling for the immediate passage of a similar bill in the Senate. The bill, if made law, would create the federal position of assistant secretary for mental health and substance use disorders, to be filled by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist and take over the responsibilities of the administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The bill, first introduced in 2013 following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has 207 bipartisan cosponsors. It was unanimously approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee in June, according to Time's report.

Read more here.



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