Congress passed the 21st Century Care Act passed in December making changes to American mental health care. The response is mixed with some saying it is just a band-aid, and others are applauding the changes.  All agree that the reform will help and address certain issues that mental health needed.

Some of the changes that will affect mental health are as follows;

  • Two new positions were created.  One being the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use (ASMH)
  • One billion dollars over a two year period is allotted to battle the growing opioid epidemic
  • The Mental Health Parity Enforcement.  Insurance companies in the past only allowed service to one or the other be paid per day, now if a patient wishes to see both his or her Primary Care Physician and the mental health provider, both will get paid. Mental health treatments will be treated like any other medical issue.
  • Grants to provide community education and health resources. Provide education to law enforcement to prevent unnecessary incarceration of the population with a mental illness.
  • Grants for mental health training for evidence-based programs
  • Grants for creating, and improving screening for new mother (within a twelve month period from delivery) for Postpartum Depression
  • Suicide prevention will expand to consider all ages.
  • A new federal committee, Serious Mental Illness (SMI) will be created to evaluate the effect of federal programs on public health. The committee will be comprised of 23 individuals, federal, nonfederal, doctors, and behavioral health clinicians
  • A new laboratory, National Mental Health and Substance use Policy Laboratory (NMHSUPL) with be created to promote evidence-based practices.
  • $4.8 billion dollars over the next ten years to the National Institue of Health, this includes $1.5 billion dollars for the Brain Research Through Advancing Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.
  • HIPAA will have a new provision to take in account a family’s needs to gain access to a patient’s (family member) records.

The complete summary of the changes is linked below.

American Psychiatric Association’s Detailed Summary – HR 34 MHR – APA

For a look at the complete “21st Century Cures Act” click here.