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Mental Health Bills Supports Outpatient Therapy

Two bills were proposed back in august, but in a recent article in the New York Times, it was pointed out that outpatient therapy is one of the major solutions in the Murphy-Johnson bill.

Both bills have complex issues at play. In the op-ed piece in the Times, a very tragic, but common, story is told of how the author lost her son. He received no help after a psychiatric break at 24, died a senseless death due to poor judgement 10 years later, and never sought help in the meantime.

The bill addresses HIPAA privacy standards (relaxed in the bill for mental health & concerns of suicide), the effectiveness money spent by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (given more supervision), and Medicaid not paying for any short-term psychiatric stays (a provision removed by the bill). These issues are not easy to address as whole, and are complicated with many nuances to consider.

The Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is in there as an incentive to states – it creates a “bonus grant block” for states to use, within several guidelines. Given the complexities of the governmental systems the bill seeks to change, no first step will solve every issue that exists. But, the bill is a fair attempt to correct many current issues.

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