Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much, but most everyone can get behind fixing the convoluted and inefficient mental healthcare system.
President Barack Obama has shown his support for the reform act and will sign it into law Tuesday.
The original Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, written by Tim Murphy, R-Pa., and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, aimed to “coordinate services to maximize the efficiency, effectiveness, quality, and cost effectiveness of services and programs.”
Murphy and Johnson should be proud. The new bill not only will create a more efficient mental healthcare system, it will foster a competitive, yet diverse, environment for innovative medical research.
The 21st Century Cures Act would modernize the antiquated mental healthcare system.
In the new bill, grants will be available so states can train more practitioners, provide accessibility to mental healthcare services and work on effective strategies to combat the opioid abuse crisis.
A National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory will be established to “identify, coordinate, and facilitate the implementation of policy changes likely to have a significant effect on mental health, mental illness, recovery supports, and the prevention and treatment of substance use disorder services.”
Indigenous populations, homeless people and veterans are also getting attention. The bill will award grants for crisis plans and mental health facilities to better serve these communities often left behind.
A college campus task force would also be established to further the discussion on shouldering some of higher education institutions’ burden of providing mental healthcare to students.
These changes are not even scratching the surface of the 312-page bill.
But the biggest, most encouraging element is the grants for physical and mental health integration. Having the two entities of healthcare on the same page would make many Americans’ lives easier.
This is the reform we have been waiting for.