Health – House Committee Approves Mental Health Reform Bill

On Wednesday, June 15, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously approved the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646). In its original form, the bill contained many provisions that caused concern for The Arc and other organizations. Many of these provisions have been scaled back. The provision that limits the scope of Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness to investigate only incidents of abuse abuse and neglect was removed. Broad exceptions to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act health care privacy protections were replaced with a provision directing the Department of Health and Human Services to issue clarifying regulations. It is estimated that 30-35% of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities also have a psychiatric disorder. The Arc is currently in the process of reviewing the amended bill.

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