As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close and summer begins, it looks as though Congress is set to make a final push for mental health reform legislation. Reports are circulating that the House Energy and Commerce Committee may consider compromise legislation that include provisions from both Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) bill – Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) and Rep. Gene Greene’s (D-TX) bill – Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act (H.R. 4435).
This “compromise legislation” includes a number of provisions, including new language to codify provisions in a recent Medicaid managed care rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that allows for federal Medicaid payments to be made to residential treatment facilities for short term stays (no more than 15 days in one month) for patients enrolled in Medicaid managed care; language to make clear it is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review and implement privacy regulations regarding the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); new language on Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act compliance; and the establishment of an assistant secretary for mental health and substance use disorders at HHS, that would not absorb the responsibility of the administrator for SAMHSA, as initially proposed.
You can read more about the action in Washington here http://www.rollcall.com/news/home/house-tries-overcome-roadblocks-mental-health-reform and here http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/280980-house-panel-to-take-up-major-mental-health-bill-in-june.
There is also a lot going on beyond DC, with webinars on a wide array of topics scheduled, from campus mental health to cultural competence, and much discussion of mental health in the media, with articles on the debunked connection between mental health and violence, questions about what’s driving the anxiety epidemic, and the value of social media fro people seeking connection.
You should also note that registration for the 2016 Alternatives conference this September in San Diego is now open, and presentation proposals are being accepted through June 3rd.
Most Mass Shooters Aren’t Mentally Ill. So Why Push Better Treatment as the Answer?
This Washington Post article pulls apart the debunked connection between diagnosed mental health conditions and violence. Only 2 out of 10 mass killers were found to have an identifiable condition, whereas most had “personality or antisocial disorders or were disgruntled, jilted, humiliated or full of intense rage. They were unlikely to be identified or helped by the mental-health system, reformed or not.”