November 30, 2016
WASHINGTON—Today, the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act to accelerate medical innovation, empower patients to take part in development efforts, and reform mental health care. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce worked across the aisle and with the medical community to develop the legislation.
21st Century Cures models its mental health reform on Congressman Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Actand includes language from Congressman Doug Collins’ Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act. The Senate passed companion legislation for the Mental Health Act last year.
“The ongoing mental health crisis affects all of our communities, and we designed this legislation to bring relief to a system in which jails care for more mental health patients than medical facilities do,” says Collins.
“By supporting mental health courts and intervention teams and increasing training for law enforcement officers who are often the first to engage individuals with mental health conditions, we can better identify and treat people with these illnesses. The common-sense approach to mental health treatment complements criminal justice reform efforts and ultimately serves the law enforcement community, over-burdened court systems, mental health sufferers, and the taxpayers whose money goes to public health and safety measures.”
Congressman Collins and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) have been collaborating to address mental health issues as part of criminal justice reform measures since 2015, bringing legislation to the table in both houses.
The Senate HELP Committee has passed several individual companion bills to the Cures Act and is expected to vote on a package next week.