Rewire Article: Advocates Say Bill to Address Gaps in Mental Health Care Would Do More Harm Than Good

Article over at Rewire about H.R. 2646 (“Murphy Bill”):

Advocates say that U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy’s “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” purported to help address gaps in care, is regressive and strips rights away from those diagnosed with mental illness. This leaves those in the LGBTQ community—who already often have an adversarial relationship with the mental health sector—at particular risk.

Topics include privacy concerns, the difficulties patients face when trying to have their concerns taken seriously, the need for trauma-informed care, and the implications for the LGBTQ community.

Great quotations from Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, JD, director of the Trans/GNC Justice Project at the National LGBTQ Task Force and #RealMHChange’s own Leah Harris.

The article is worth reading in full.

H.R. 2646 Passes out of Committee

On June 15th, H.R. 2646 (“Murphy Bill”) passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

As the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) points out, this is cause for concern:

Despite recent revisions, H.R. 2646 continues to focus on interventions that isolate and stigmatize people with mental health disabilities. It was not only written without significant participation by people with mental health disabilities but also would exclude people with mental health disabilities from positions of leadership in mental health programs.

  • H.R. 2646 would create new administrative burdens for home health care and personal attendant services for people with disabilities.
  • H.R. 2646 would subsidize long-term institutionalization of children and young adults.
  • H.R. 2646 would not ensure that people with psychiatric disabilities are represented in the programs that it would authorize.
  • H.R. 2646 promotes outdated ideas about the capacity of individuals with mental health disabilitiesincluding its apparent promotion of plenary guardianship for individuals with mental health disabilitiesand makes no mention of available alternatives to guardianship, such as supported decision-making.
  • The draft bill would urge the Department of Health and Human Services to revisit (or “clarify”) its existing HIPAA regulations in a way that could potentially expand access to protected health information without the consent of a person with a mental health disability.

Read the full press release here.

Murphy Bill Updates: Markup Today at 10am (webcast) and Amendment

TODAY: The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce will be reviewing new amendments to Congressman Tim Murphy’s ‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Bill’ this morning at 10:00 am.

AMENDMENT: Committee Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone are offering a managers amendment. The amendment is essentially a new version of the bill, entirely replacing the old one. You can read it here.

WATCH: There will be a live webcast of the markup, starting approximately 10 minutes before 10am. You can watch it here.

Call to Action: HR 2646 Markup This Week

TIME SENSITIVE! Call or write before 5:00 pm on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

The most current draft of the Murphy Bill, HB 2646, will be addressed by the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee next Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

If your House representative is on the E&C Committee CALL THEIR HOME OFFICE by the end of Tuesday, June 14. (Instructions on how to find your Rep and who to call are at the end of the announcement.)

WHETHER YOU HAVE A REP ON THE COMMITTEE OR NOT, please call the Washington offices of Chairman Fred Upton and Ranking Member Frank Pallone. Here is their contact information:

Fred Upton (R, MI), Chairman
TEL: 202-225-3761
http://upton.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

Frank Pallone, Jr. (D, NJ), Ranking Member
TEL: 202-225-4671
https://palloneforms.house.gov/contact/email

LEAVE A MESSAGE stating you are strongly opposed to Murphy Bill HB 2646 and you want them to vote against it on June 15, 2016.

Below are the key points for opposing the bill. More details are at our website.

Press release from NCMHR on this proposed legislation.

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is strongly opposed to HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, for the following reasons:

Continues to weaken the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration by creation of unnecessary oversight by an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health. SAMHSA has been indispensable in supporting the recovery of individuals with mental health conditions.

Would violate civil rights by authorizing new funding for assisted outpatient treatment, despite the lack of evidence that mandated outpatient treatment is effective.

Would expand Medicaid funding for institutions, rather than putting the money into evidence-based services in the community, as has been mandated by the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision.

OVERALL REACTION
The crisis in mental health care has been painted as a problem of “undeserved” rights. It is, in fact, a problem of grossly inadequate resources that are poorly allocated. Consumer-driven services in the community complement traditional mental health programs with highly effective outcomes that are significantly less expensive than other forms of community care. We recommend language and funding for peer support specialist grant programs and other consumer-driven supports.

More than 50 years after deinstitutionalization, mental health systems across the country are still unable to provide the appropriate care in the community that was promised long ago. Time and again, research has proven that the public perception of the relative “dangerousness” of people with mental health conditions is unfounded. Sensationalized, distorted media coverage and the sustained influence of some stakeholders have fueled arguments for forced treatment and an overly medicalized system of care. The march toward re-institutionalization and coercive care is abhorrent. Having a mental health condition does not constitute a life sentence to poverty, marginalization, aberrant behavior or an inability to become a fully functioning citizen who can contribute meaningfully to his/her community. We know that recovery is possible because we are the evidence.
*****

Who needs to be called? Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee should be called by their constituents:
https://energycommerce.house.gov/about-ec/energy-commerce-committee-members

Not sure who your representative is? Go to this link and type in your zip code:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

An icon for your representative will appear, and you should be able to locate their contact information. If you prefer email, use the address provided on your representative’s page.

However, THE BEST IMPACT will come from calls to the home district offices. The staff at the home offices will communicate with the DC staff accordingly.

Don’t see your representative on the Energy and Commerce Committee? That’s okay, you can still help by calling the Washington, DC offices of the Chairman and Ranking Member and sharing your views:

Chairman Fred Upton (R, MI)
TEL: 202-225-3761
http://upton.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D, NJ)
TEL: 202-225-4671
https://palloneforms.house.gov/contact/email

TIME SENSITIVE! Call or write before 5:00 pm on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

Senate Markup of Mental Health Bill Today! Watch it Live

Most progressive mental health groups are supporting this version of the Senate bill, as it does not include the rights and dignity violations in the House version.

Markup of Mental Health Reform Act of 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 10:00 AM

Link to Webcast – should go live approximately 15 minutes prior to the mark-up.

Senate discussion draft bill – announcement from HELP Committee
Bill is link at the bottom of announcement.

Summary of draft
Full text of the draft

Press on the bill
The Hill: Here is a link to an article that reports that the author of proposed mental health legislation in the House has criticized the bipartisan U.S. Senate bill.

Morning Consult – Rep. Murphy Hits HELP Committee’s Mental Health Bill

Roll Call: Amid ‘Crisis,’ Senate Bill Seeks Boost Access to Mental Health Care

The Tennessean: Lamar Alexander Takes on Mental Health ‘Crisis’ (Real MH Change quoted here)

Thank you to the National Disability Rights Network for compiling this information.

What you can do:
We invite you to engage on social media during the markup, if you cannot be there in person. Let these committees know what you think of the conversation and what should and should not be a part of mental health legislation. Please use the hashtag #realmhchange. We will be Tweeting from @realmhchange.

Tweet your thoughts to the HELP Committee:

@LamarAlexander (Chair)
@PattyMurray (Ranking Member)
@GOPHELP
@HELPCmteDems

 

 

 

109 Groups Urge Congress to Oppose the Murphy Bill

Please share this letter widely, which was written by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and signed on to by a massive array of groups.

March 8, 2016

The Honorable Fred Upton
Chair, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
United States House of Representatives
2183 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr.
Ranking Member, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
United States House of Representatives
237 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Oppose the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015” (H.R. 2646)

Dear Chair Upton and Ranking Member Pallone:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, and the 109 undersigned organizations, we write to urge you to oppose H.R. 2646, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015.”

We believe that this legislation will result in outdated, biased, and inappropriate treatment of people with a mental health diagnosis. There are a number of troubling provisions including those that would:

• End innovative or newly created programs;
• Require involuntary outpatient commitment, creating an adverse effect on the work being done to provide community based treatment and peer-to-peer services, particularly affecting African Americans, who are overrepresented in forced outpatient treatment programs;
• Reduce the privacy protections of confidential health information for persons with mental illness; and
• End the important work of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI), a program that positively impacts millions of individuals with psychiatric disabilities by working with individuals, families, and the police to foster better understanding and relationships.

While we agree that there is a clear need to update the current mental health services system, especially for communities of diverse backgrounds, we have significant concerns with several of the provisions set forth in H.R. 2646. The legislation will cause serious harm to many of the programs used in the community that provide support and services to people with psychiatric disabilities. We ask that you oppose the bill until these concerns are addressed.

The current formulation of H.R. 2646 will function to eliminate basic civil and human rights protections for those with mental illness. We urge you to oppose this legislation and to move forward with mental health legislation that strengthens and improves many of the current programs working to change lives as well as protect the civil and human rights of persons with psychiatric disabilities.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lisa Bornstein, Legal Director, at 202-466-3311 or bornstein@civilrights.org.

Respectfully submitted:

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
ACAMP
ADAPT
ADAPT Montana
Advocates For Children of NY
AFCAMP
African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc.
Alyssum Inc
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Amnesty International USA
Another Way Inc.
APNI Inc
The Arc of the United States
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Behavioral Health & Wellness
Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy
Center for Disability Rights (NYS)
The Center for Exceptional Families, Inc
Centro Margarita
Coalition for Mental Health Reform
Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc.
Crump Attorney’s at Law
Delaware Family Voices
The Daniel Initiative
Disability Policy Consortium
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
Empowerment Temple AME
Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (NC)
F I R S T
Family Connection of South Carolina
Family Network on Disabilities
Family Voices Colorado
Family Voices Indiana
Family Voices of California – State Affiliate Organization of Family Voices
Family Voices of NJ
Family Voices of Tennessee
Federation for Children with Special Needs
Federation of Families of South Carolina
Focus On Recovery -United
Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network
Grassroots Empowerment Project
Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
Individual Citizen
Iu-Mien Community Services
KEY Consumer Organization, Inc.
Korean American Resource and Cultural Center
Korean Resource Center
Lambda Legal
Maine Parent Federation, Inc.
Mommieactivist and sons
MS Family2Family HIEC
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
NAMI Connecticut
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse
National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA)
National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
National Bar Association
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
National Council of Churches
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC)
National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)
National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN)
National Korean American Service and Education Consortium
National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA)
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
The National Network for Arab American Communities
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)
New Jersey Parents Caucus, Inc.
New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services
Not Dead Yet
Oklahoma Parents Center
Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition
Oregon Mental Health Consumer and Psychiatric Survivor Coalition
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Parent to Parent of Georgia
Parent to Parent USA
The Parents’ Place of Maryland
Partners Resource Network TEAM Project
PAVE
PEAL Center
Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association
Pyramid CPRC
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)
TASH
Transformative Justice Coalition
Treatment Access Expansion Project
Treatment Communities of America
United Spinal Association
United We Stand of New York
UPLIFT
Vermont Family Network
Vermont Psychiatric Survivors, Inc.
Western Mass Recovery Learning Community
Women Who Never Give Up

Cc: House Education and Workforce Committee Leadership – Chair John Kline and Minority Leader Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
House Ways and Means Committee Leadership – Chair Kevin Brady and Minority Leader Sander M. Levin