On 11/30/2016 the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) by a vote of 392-26. This wide-ranging, $6 billion bipartisan health legislation includes significant mental health components.
The bill incorporates elements of legislation previously put forth by Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Pa. To be honored by SARDAA with the Exceptional Legislator Award on 12/8) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) in the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act as well as provisions in the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, sponsored by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
Some of the provisions included in the legislation:
* Elevates the importance of addressing mental illness and substance use within the federal government:
o Creates a Presidentially-appointed Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and SubstanceAbuse
o Establishes a Chief Medical Officer
o Makes reforms to SAMHSA, including emphasis on science and evidence based programs
* Extends the federal Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) grant program,
o Greatly increases program funding authorization levels
o Authorizing AOT as an alternative to incarceration within Department of Justice programs
* Establishes a grant program for Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)
o Directs CMS to outline for states innovative opportunities to use Medicaid 1115 waivers to provide care for adults with serious mental illness.
* Requires clarification of HIPAA by:
o Directing the Health and Human Services Secretary to clarify circumstances under which a family member may receive protected health information about their loved ones with SMI
o Requiring the Secretary develop training and education to health care providers and compliance staff on these circumstances
* Establishes the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory to promote and disseminate evidence-based service delivery models and practices
* Provides vital new tools for law enforcement, including:
o Grants for crisis intervention teams (CIT)
o Federal mental health courts
o Creation of a National Criminal Justice and Mental Health Training Center
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