MURPHY PLEDGES TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR FAMILIES IN MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS

Murphy Pledges to Keep Fighting For Families in Mental Health Crisis Announces Opposition to Government Funding Measure

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz, 202.225.2301

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) released the following statement today explaining one of his many concerns with, and why he will oppose, the $1.1 trillion government funding package expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives tomorrow:

“Access to evidence-based treatment significantly improves the lives of those with serious mental illness and brain disorders. I am disappointed the Assisted Outpatient Treatment program was not funded in this spending bill. Authorized by Congress and signed into law by the President this year, AOT is a life-saving program to help patients and families in mental health crisis for whom the alternative has been a revolving door of jail, homelessness, victimization, and violence,” said Rep. Tim Murphy.

“What we need is treatment before tragedy. This bill continues to fund the tragedy side and not the treatment most needed for the severely mentally ill. Instead of continuing to fund the status quo of failed and wasteful SAMHSA programs, money for prisons to incarcerate the mentally ill, and homeless programs for those with brain disease who live a life of misery on the margins of society under the worst of conditions, there are models of tremendous success across the country we could be investing in like Assisted Outpatient Treatment.

“AOT empowers families and treatment providers to work together so patients can function in the community with the highest degree of independence. I’ve met with countless family members from across all corners of our country who have the unconquerable courage to fight the stigma of serious brain disease and never given up hope to find care for their loved one in our broken mental health system. They inspire me every day and I remain steadfast in my commitment to achieve meaningful mental health reforms in Congress on their behalf.”

Background on the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Grant Program for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness:

Section 224 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (Public Law 113-93) authorized an Assistant Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program. AOT is a successful alternative to long-term inpatient care for those with mental illness cycling through the system but never receiving needed care. AOT has been proven to save money for state and local governments by reducing the rates of imprisonment, homelessness, substance abuse, and costly emergency room visits for individuals with a persistent and serious mental illness.

AOT is a component of the bipartisan Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which Dr. Murphy authored following a year-long investigation into the nation’s broken mental health system. Nationwide support for his legislation to grow from newspaper editors, physicians, and parents of children with mental illness. The legislation includes provisions to increase hospital beds and proper care while decreasing criminalization for people with serious types of mental illness; reform the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to increase family access to information and eliminate barriers to communication between families and providers; permit federal Medicaid dollars to be used to pay for acute inpatient psychiatric treatment by creating an exception to the current Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion in Medicaid; expand effective Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) services; increase funding to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); re-appropriate the budget of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase support for programs designed to help those with the most severe cases of mental illness.

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Beginning this January, Rep. Tim Murphy will enter his seventh term representing Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, which encompasses suburban Pittsburgh and parts of Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland and Greene Counties. Rep. Murphy also serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps as a psychologist treating Wounded Warriors with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. Prior to serving in Congress, Dr. Murphy, author of “The Angry Child” and “Overcoming Passive-Aggression,” was a practicing psychologist specializing in child and family treatment.

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