Press Releases: Bill Seeks Federal Status for Mental Health-Addictions
Contact: Communications@thenationalcouncil.org, 202-684-7457
National Council Applauds Reps. Matsui and Engel
Washington, DC (July 6, 2010)—The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council) applauds the introduction of the Mental Health and Addiction Safety Net Equity Act, HR 5636, in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 29 by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY). The bill establishes federal status for organizations that offer treatment and supports for millions of poor and vulnerable persons with mental and addiction disorders.
“Safety net hospitals and health centers enjoy federal support and funding even in times of economic distress. Why should mental health and addictions be any different?” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council. “It’s time for behavioral health to be treated like the rest of healthcare. We need to keep the doors open of behavioral health organizations open so they can provide the right care at the right time to those in need; and we are very grateful to Reps. Matsui and Engel for their wisdom and leadership,” she added.
"Investing in mental health and addictions treatment can save our economy the many billions we now spend on emergency room visits, incarceration, and lost productivity," said Charles Ingoglia, Vice President, Public Policy, National Council. “Federal funding for these essential services is the only option to protect against decimation of services due to state budget struggles,” he explained.
Reps. Matsui and Engel were honored as National Council Legislators of the Year at an awards ceremony on June 29 in conjunction with the National Council’s Hill Day. More than 500 safety net behavioral health organization stakeholders were in Washington DC last week to visit their Members of Congress and advocate for federal support for better resources for the mental health and addictions safety net.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,700 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.