Thursday, March 27, 2014

House Passes Key Provisions of Murphy's Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act!

House Subcommittee Chair Announces Hearing on H.R. 3717 Next Week

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz202.225.2301

WASHINGTON, DC) – This afternoon, the House of Representatives adopted two major components of HR 3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, a bill authored by Representative Tim Murphy, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations.

The House-passed Protecting Access to Medicare Act incentivizes counties to establish Assistant Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs, a successful alternative to long-term inpatient care for those with mental illness cycling through the system but never receiving needed care. AOT has been proven to save money for state and local governments by reducing the rates of imprisonment, homelessness, substance abuse, and costly emergency room visits for individuals with a persistent and serious mental illness.

“The Assisted Outpatient Treatment model, which is a cornerstone of my Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, has proven track record of success in helping those who need treatment lead productive lives in the community. Under Kendra's Law in New York, AOT has reduced homelessness, ended the cycle of repeat hospitalizations and incarceration of those with mental illness by more than 70 percent. The legislation passed today is a tremendous step forward in expanding mental health services, and gives our effort to bring mental illness out of the shadows a major momentum boost as the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act moves through the Energy and Commerce Committee,” said Rep. Murphy.

The Protecting Access to Medicare Act also includes another section of Murphy’s H.R. 3717 to expand access to community mental health services and strengthen the quality of care provided for those living with mental illness.  This section was introduced in the Senate as a stand-alone bill by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).

Hours after these mental health provisions passed the House, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Joe Pitts (R-PA) announced he will be convening a legislative hearing on Thursday, April 3rd at 10:30AM to review Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Witnesses and additional information on the hearing can be found here.

“Our yearlong Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee investigation revealed that individuals diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness are more likely to end up in jail or on the streets because they aren't getting the treatment they need from our broken mental health system,” said Murphy. “The Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act will turn the sorrow of loss and tragedy into the joy of recovery for millions of families across the country by advancing evidence-based medicine, fixing misunderstood HIPAA rules, and expanding access to evidence-based treatment.”

On Friday at 10:00 AM, Dr. Murphy will headline a public forum at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. as part of a panel discussion entitled, “Fixing the mental health care system: What Congress can do.” Joining Murphy will be former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), American Psychiatric Association President Jeffrey Lieberman, MD; AEI scholar Sally Satel, MD; and E. Fuller Torrey, MD, of the Stanley Medical Research Institute. Click here for more information.

Back in Pittsburgh, on Monday, March 31, 2014, at 8:30AM, Rep. Murphy will be at Allegheny General Hospital to provide the greater Pittsburgh community with an update on his legislation. The Allegheny Health Network invited Rep. Murphy to be a featured speaker at a special public forum on the need to reform the nation’s mental health system. Also speaking will be Dr. Anthony Mannarino, whowill discuss implications of the bill for mental health services for children and families, and proposed changes in HIPAA for clinicians. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr.will discuss the law enforcement perspective on psychiatric treatment and the criminal justice system. Event details are as follows:
WHAT:                      Special Forum on The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
WHO:                         Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18)
                                    The Honorable Stephen A. Zappala, Jr., Allegheny County District Attorney
Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D. Director of Allegheny General Hospital Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents

WHEN:                      Monday, March 31, 2014
8:00 AM — Registration
8:30 AM to 9:30 AM — Program
                                    9:30 AM to 9:45 AM — Press availability

LOCATION:             Allegheny General Hospital
Magovern Auditorium
320 East North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

CONTACT:              
With AHN – Dan Laurent, 412-330-4430 dlaurent@wpahs.org
With Rep. Murphy - Brad Grantz, 202.225.2301, brad.grantz@mail.house.gov

Background on AOT and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act:

The Protecting Access to Medicare Act prevents an automatic cut in reimbursements to physicians treating Medicare beneficiaries. Due to a 1997 budgetary rule known as the “sustainable growth rate formula,” physician payments would be cut by 24% without congressional action. Rep. Murphy is a cosponsor of legislation to fully repeal the SGR and replace it with a system that reimburses based on quality and evidence-based medicine. Sections 223 of the bill is a demonstration program to improve community mental health services, and section 224 is the AOT grant program. Click here to read legislative text.

Between forty and fifty percent of individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder do not recognize they have a mental illness, making it exceedingly difficult for them to follow through on a treatment regimen. This lack of insight leads patients to stop taking medication, which sometimes results in erratic behavior. The patient may need to be taken to an emergency room to be stabilized, or arrested if a crime has occurred. Family members want to get help for loved ones, but current law makes it exceedingly difficult to get a non-compliant patient — even one with repeated hospitalizations or arrests — into treatment. Assisted outpatient treatment, or AOT, allows courts to order certain mentally ill individuals with a history of arrest, hospitalization, and whose condition will worsen without medical care, to comply with treatment while living in the community.

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 fromnewspaper 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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