Netsmart Urges Senate Passage of Comprehensive Mental Health Bill
Continued path toward House-Senate agreement on mental health reform
Overland Park, Kan., Sept. 6, 2016 – Netsmart today urged prompt U.S. Senate action to pass the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S. 2680) upon return to session on Sept. 6.
This comprehensive, bipartisan mental health reform legislation was reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in March under the bipartisan leadership of HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Adoption of the Senate bill would dovetail with bipartisan passage in the U.S. House in July of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas.
“The Senate has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass comprehensive mental health legislation by taking up S. 2680 in September before the fall recess,” said Kevin Scalia, executive vice president, Netsmart. “Passage of this legislation would create the alignment needed for a conference committee to sync during this session of Congress on a final mental health bill benefiting millions of people suffering from mental illness.”
Netsmart also supports Senate passage of the Integrating Behavioral Health Through Technology Act (S. 2691), sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. This measure would create a $250 million, five-state pilot program with health information technology financial incentives for psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, social workers, psychologists and addiction treatment providers.
Netsmart views Senator Whitehouse’s bill as an important first step to helping resource-challenged providers of mental health services fully utilize technology for coordinated, integrated care with physical health providers.
“Integrating mental health and addiction treatment services with the rest of medicine is essential to reducing the mortality rate among patients with serious mental illnesses,” said Scalia.
Netsmart is a founding member of the Behavioral Health IT (BHIT) Coalition, a consortium of 12 key organizations advancing public policy for technology to improve the lives of people with mental health and addiction disorders. Members include the National Council for Behavioral Health and the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems.
For more information about Netsmart’s advocacy on behalf of its clients, visit the Netsmart legislative and policy webpage.
Netsmart is healthcare’s largest human services and integrated care technology provider. Netsmart technology platforms and expertise are integral to the delivery of outcomes-based services and care to more than 25 million persons nationwide.
Netsmart serves more than 500,000 users in more than 24,000 organizations across all 50 states. Netsmart client communities include behavioral health; addiction treatment; intellectual and developmental disabilities; child and family services; public health; home health, hospice and palliative care, and private duty; and vital records.
Netsmart’s CareFabric® suite, a framework of innovative clinical and business solutions and services, supports integrated, coordinated delivery of health services across the spectrum of care.
Netsmart’s HIT Value Model™ metric, a vendor-agnostic planning and measurement system, provides a path for human services organizations to evaluate where on the healthcare IT spectrum they should focus their efforts, the value associated with that strategic decision and a comparison with peer organizations nationwide.
Netsmart is pleased to support the EveryDayMatters® Foundation, which was established for human services organizations to learn from each other and share their causes and stories. For more information, visit www.everydaymatters.com
CareFabric and EveryDayMatters are registered trademarks of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
HIT Value Model is a trademark of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
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