Matsui Remarks on Behavioral Health IT Legislation During Opioid Bills Floor Debate

Matsui’s Bipartisan Legislation, H.R. 3331, Passed Unanimously Today in the House of Representatives

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Washington, June 12, 2018 | comments

Washington, D.C.Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) delivered the following remarks on the House floor during debate of her bipartisan legislation with Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), H.R. 3331. The bill would extend incentives to behavioral health providers to adopt electronic health records. Following debate, the bill passed unanimously by voice. A similar piece of legislation passed the Senate in May.

Mr. Speaker, while I believe that we need to do a lot more to combat the opioid and addiction epidemic, I am pleased with some of the specific steps being taken today to help communities.

I specifically rise in support of legislation I coauthored with Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, on H.R. 3331.

In order to solve the root causes of addiction, we need more access to behavioral health in our communities and we need to treat mental illness and substance use disorder like diseases. That means integrating care and services for those conditions into the health care system. It means treating a person as a whole person. Physical and mental health conditions interplay and should be treated as such.

We cannot have a truly integrated system, with the care coordination we envision, if behavioral health providers don’t have electronic health records. We must work to harness the power of technology to improve the accessibility of behavioral health treatment, particularly in underserved communities.

This bipartisan bill will incentivize behavioral health providers to adopt electronic health record technology. The Senate version of the bill, led by Senators Whitehouse and Portman, passed by unanimous consent last month, so I hope that we can continue the momentum around this legislation with passage of H.R. 3331 today.

Before I close, I want to reiterate how important it is for my Republican colleagues to join us in doing more. We need to protect and expand Medicaid, build on the ACA’s successes in terms of access to behavioral healthcare, and fund treatment and prevention efforts in our local communities.

We have a long ways to go. This is a really good start, and I implore my colleagues to work with us as we move forward.


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