Thursday, December 12, 2013

HR 3717 introduced by Rep Murphy: Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act

Rep. Tim Murphy, PhD, Chairman of Oversight and Investigations


More than 11 million Americans have severe schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression yet millions are going without treatment and families struggle to find care for loved ones.

The federal government’s approach to mental health has been a chaotic patchwork of antiquated programs and ineffective policies across numerous agencies. Sadly, patients end up in the criminal justice system or on the streets because services are not available.  

This Act fixes the nation’s broken mental health system by focusing programs and resources on psychiatric care for patients and their families most in need of services.

1.) Empowers Parents and Caregivers

2.) Breaks down barriers preventing doctors and mental health professionals from talking to parents about mentally ill loved ones who are in an acute mental health crisis, regarding HIPPA laws

3.) Fixes Shortage of Inpatient Beds

4.) Increases access to acute care psychiatric beds for the most critical patients

5.) Alternatives to institutionalization

6.) Provides alternatives to inpatient care through court-ordered ‘Assisted Outpatient Treatment’ or AOT — which reduces rates of imprisonment, homelessness, substance abuse, and costly ER visits for the chronically mentally ill

7.) Reaches undeserved and rural populations

8.) Advances tele-psychiatry to link pediatricians and primary care doctors with psychiatrists and psychologists in areas where patients don’t have access to mental health professionals

9.) Creates Assistant Secretary for Mental Health (HHS) to coordinate federal government programs and oversee evidence-based models of care developed by the National Institute of Mental Health at Community Mental Health Centers. Ensures federal programs are optimized for mental health and patient care rather than bureaucracy

10.) Stabilizing patients beyond the ER

11.) Protects classes of drugs so physicians can prescribe the appropriate medications for mental health patients enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid (similar to epilepsy, cancer)

12.) Advances critical medical research

13.) Authorizes the BRAIN research initiative at the Nat’l Institute of Mental Health.

14.) Promotes High Quality Behavioral Health Clinics

15.) Improves quality and expands access to integrated medical and mental healthcare at community mental health providers

16.) Demands Department Of Justice Reforms

17.) Reauthorizes mental health courts so patients are treated in the healthcare system and not warehoused in the criminal justice system and more


View Rep. Murphy's 5 minute speech on Floor of House announcing the "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act".

The complete text of The Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act can be viewed here.
A summary of the legislation is provided here.

Here's what's in Rep. Tim Murphy's Mental Illness Bill (12/12/13)


Calling your Representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor and support the "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act" (HR 3717) sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy. 

The fastest way to find your Rep phone number is to enter your zip code at -- or see the list below. 

District 1 Whitfield, Ed, R, 202-225-3115, Energy and Commerce 202-225-3115

District 2 Guthrie, S. Brett, R, 202-225-3501, Education and the Workforce

District 3 Yarmuth, John A., D, 202-225-5401, Energy and Commerce 202-225-5401

District 4 Massie, Thomas. R, 202-225-3465, Oversight and Government Reform Science, Space, and Technology Transportation and Infrastructure

District 5 Rogers, Harold, R, 202-225-4601, Appropriations, Chairman 202-225-4601

District 6 Barr/Lexington, Andy, R, 202-225-4706, Financial Service


Letters of support from the following organizations:

AOT Bill lets courts order outpatient care for mentally ill in Ohio

read article here:
Bill lets courts order outpatient care for mentally ill\

Russell, (director of NAMI Ohio) said the bill, which NAMI supports, would allow judges to place people in the “ least-restrictive environment,” outpatient treatment. Commitment to a state hospital is far more restrictive and more expensive to taxpayers, he said.