Huizenga mental-health bill would improve access, address costs

Photo courtesy: U.S. House. Rep. Bill Huizenga signing legislation.

WASHINGTON, DC. — U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga has introduced legislation aimed at improving access to mental-health care while expanding opioid-addiction treatment.

In a news release, the Second District Congressman from West Michigan says the ‘Inpatient Act of 2018’ was crafted in consultation with Gaines Township-based Pine Rest Chritisian Mental Health Services – one of the nation’s largest behavioral health-treatment providers in the United States.

Pine Rest chief executive officer Dr. Mark Eastburg says the bill (H.R. 6343) will help such providers give the highest-quality care for people who “suffer from some of the most severe forms of mental illness, at lower cost.”

Congressman Huizenga says the legislation will address treatment, access, cost, and workforce challenges that high-need/high-cost patients encounter while dealing with behavioral health and substance abuse:

“Currently, outdated Medicare and Medicaid regulations are restricting access to mental health care for individuals who need it the most.  We must address the ongoing opioid epidemic and limited access to quality and affordable mental health services in West Michigan and across the nation.”

The INPATIENT Act:

·         Establishes a demonstration program for qualified mental health providers to optimize federal resources for hard-to-reach and costly patient populations

·         Improves access to quality care for those suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues

·         Reduces duplication of Medicare and Medicaid costs

·         Increases the mental health workforce that help underserved populations

·         Informs data needs and national public policy discussion centered on high-risk, high-expense mental health patient population

·         Generates best practices to serve this population effectively, efficiently, and at a lower cost.

The legislative text of H.R. 6343 can be found on the Huizenga House website.

 

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