Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and Foundation

PRA to Senate: Mental Health Legislation Needs Changes to Protect Consumers

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PRA to Senate: Mental Health Legislation Needs Changes to Protect Consumers

PRA’s Public Policy Committee engaged in a summer-long exercise to thoughtfully review all of the federal mental health legislation under consideration and engage constructively with the legislative process.  This includes the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015” (H.R. 2646), which passed the House in July and the “Mental Health Reform Act of 2016” (S. 2680,) which was approved by the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee but has not yet been scheduled for Senate floor action.  

PRA weighed in with the Senate in with a detailed, but focused, letter dated September 12, 2016 with two essential process requests.  First, we called on the Senate to reject consideration of the House-passed bill without further amendment.  Second, PRA asked that the Senate advance S. 2680, with additional amendments.  While there are many issues of concern and question for PRA members, the PRA took a focused approach in our letter to the Senate and highlighted those issues that the Public Policy Committee found of the greatest concern and therefore areas of essential changes to either the House or Senate bills prior to advancement.  Specifically, PRA called for the following legislative amendments: 

  • Withdraw or mitigate provisions to expand “Assisted Outpatient Treatment” (AOT), 
  • Remedy the exclusion of non-physician providers, consumers, and families from authority and programs, 
  • Curtail a far-reaching “Sense of Congress” regarding clinical implications of serious mental illness, and
  • Protect the important work of SAMHSA.

We encourage you to read PRA’s complete letter and see for yourself the quality work for your PRA colleagues and our staff team in providing thoughtful advocacy on behalf of our members before Congress.