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Latta Leads Legislation Working to Improve Mental Health Care Services

Washington, June 30, 2020 | Rebecca Card (202.225.6405)

Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) waived onto the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing focusing on legislation working to improve mental health services. During the hearing, Congressman Latta highlighted legislation he recently introduced, H.R. 7147, the “Creating Resources to Improve Situations of Inherent Severity Act” or the “CRISIS Act”

“As the United States continues to fight the opioid epidemic and COVID-19, suicide and mental illness have also reached new devastating levels,” said Latta. “The White House drug policy office shared that drug overdose deaths have increased 11.4 percent in the first four months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. The social repercussions of COVID-19 have caused stress and anxiety in our communities. Providing care and assistance to those who are suffering is a must, especially during this global pandemic.”

Currently, emergency departments and the criminal justice system do not have the capacity, with existing resources and health care professional shortages, to address the needs of the rapidly growing number of individuals who are struggling with behavioral health conditions. People who live with mental illness need additional health facilities to receive crisis care, to prevent avoidable interaction with the criminal justice system, and to lessen the high volume of patients in emergency rooms where possible.

The CRISIS Act would direct states to utilize funds from the Mental Health Block Grant for crisis care services and improve care to an individual experiencing a psychiatric episode. The bill encourages every state to provide crisis care services to a person experiencing a psychiatric episode. Crisis care services include the following:

  • Crisis Call Centers – Call centers that coordinate and connect people experiencing a mental health crisis and their families to behavioral health services in real time.
  • Mobile Crisis Services – 24/7 mobile crisis services offering outreach, support, and referrals to appropriate care when and where people are in crisis.
  • Crisis Stabilization Programs – Stabilization programs offering acute or sub-acute care in a hospital or facility for individuals who need observation.

Administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the federal Mental Health Block Grant provides funds to states to support mental illness prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services. In Fiscal Year 2020, the program was funded at $722.5 million. After becoming law, this legislation would increase per year for FY 2021-2022 by $35.5 million to $758 million.

For more information on today’s Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing, click here

Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH05) serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee as the Republican Leader on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee where he advocates for policies that help consumers, grow the economy and spur innovation. He also serves as an active member of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, which he previously chaired, and the Energy Subcommittee.

Congressman Latta has served on all six Energy and Commerce subcommittees. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and is vested with the broadest jurisdiction of any congressional authorizing committee.

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