Congresswoman Matsui Statement on Passage of Mental Health Bill Out of Energy & Commerce Committee

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Washington, DC, June 15, 2016 | comments
Congresswoman Matsui Statement on Passage of Mental Health Bill Out of Energy & Commerce Committee
Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) released the following statement on passage of mental health legislation, H.R. 2646 as amended, out of the Energy & Commerce Committee:
“With the passage of today’s bill out of Committee, we have taken the first steps towards addressing the mental health crisis in this country. I’m particularly pleased that we were able to work to make important improvements that I have long called for, and include many provisions that Democrats offered in an effort to make this legislation more meaningful.
“For too long, patients, their providers and families have lacked clarity as to how they can share information under HIPAA. My work is driven by the stories I’ve heard of patients’ family members wanting to help and support their loved one, but being shut out of the system.I’m encouraged that my bill, H.R. 2690, was included in the legislation we voted on today. By elevating HHS guidance and funding training for providers on HIPAA, we have struck the right balance between maintaining patients’ privacy and encouraging limited sharing of information when appropriate and in the patients’ best interest.
“The mental health system is broken, and our work to bring mental illness out of the shadows is far from over. Parity between mental and physical illness should not just be a vision, it has to be a reality for American families. We need to put real dollars into a system that has been chronically under-funded for so long. This will require an investment at all levels, ensuring that crisis services are available, but also that prevention and early intervention services are there to keep people from reaching that crisis stage in the first place. Community behavioral health centers play an important role in providing a broad range of care to patients, and they must be equipped to cover a diverse array of mental health services. I will continue to work to expand my Excellence in Mental Health Act, so that families across the country can start to benefit from increased integration of physical, mental, and substance abuse treatment in their local communities.
“Today is only the beginning. Much work still needs to be done. I will keep fighting for resources needed to reform the entire spectrum of care, and I remain committed to families and their loved ones who are in desperate need of true, comprehensive reform.”
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