The Wall Street Journal (12/13, Fields) “The Washington Wire” blog reports that yesterday, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce committee on Oversight and Investigation, and is a clinical psychologist, introduced the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013.” The measure comes about a year after the Newtown, CT shootings in which six adults and 20 elementary-school pupils were killed. The proposed legislation would create within the Department of Health and Human Services the new position of assistant secretary for mental-health and substance-use disorders. That position would be charged with examination of all aspects of mental healthcare funding as well as treatment.
The Washington Times (12/13, Sherfinski) reports, “The legislation clarifies federal privacy laws so that doctors and mental health professionals can inform family members of people who need help, increases access to psychiatric beds, and protects certain” medication classes “commonly used to treat mental illness” so physicians may prescribe appropriate medicines for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. The bill “already has support from” the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Psychiatric Association, among others.
— “Rep. Tim Murphy Introduces Mental-Health Legislation, “Gary Fields, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2013.