Friday, March 21, 2014

Chairman Murphy To Convene Hearing On Psych Bed Shortage

Continues Subcommittee Investigation into 
Nation’s Broken Mental Health System

For Immediate Release: Friday, March 21, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz202.225.2301

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Representative Tim Murphy, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations and author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717), will convene a hearing on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 10:00AM entitled, “Where Have All the Patients Gone? Examining the Psychiatric Bed Shortage.”

Parents and expert witnesses from the judicial system, law enforcement, and medical provider community will testify about the impact of a severe shortage of psychiatric beds on both emergency room patients and persons with serious mental illness. The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.

In the fifty years since the passage of the Community Mental Health Centers Act, the number of dedicated psychiatric beds available at hospitals for psychiatric patients has decreased from 559,000 to 43,000, putting patients with serious mental illnesses at risk. Significantly diminished capacity for inpatient treatment contributed to a phenomenon known as “psychiatric boarding,” where patients are left to wait in hospital emergency departments until space becomes available for inpatient psychiatric care. This increases wait times in emergency rooms, sends ambulances to different hospitals, consumes significant hospital and law enforcement resources, and negatively impacts access for all patients requiring emergency care.

“Families are being torn apart because loved ones with serious mental illness cannot find the acute medical help they so desperately need due to a severe inpatient psychiatric bed shortage,” said Murphy. “At this hearing, witnesses will share their first-hand experiences on how this crisis has resulted in hundreds of thousands with mental illness in jails, on the streets, or most tragically, dying because appropriate care was not available.”
Dr. Murphy, a clinical psychologist with thirty years experience, authored the bipartisan Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717) following a year-long investigation into the nation’s broken mental health system. Nationwide support for his legislation to grow from newspaper editorsphysicians, and parents of children with mental illness.

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MurphyPress | Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18)
2332 Rayburn House Office Building | Washington, DC  20515
(202) 225-2301 | (202) 225-1844

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