If you are not familiar with Representative Tim Murphy's legislation to overhaul America's broken mental health system, this post isn't for you. The legislation died when congress convened, but Rep. Murphy is planning to reintroduce the legislation to this congress, and he has 115 co-sponsors for the bill. In the last session, APA took no stance on the bill; they wrote a letter supporting the idea of legislative change and said they looked forward to working with Murphy on this. Rep. Murphy has said that the new legislation to be proposed will have some changes, changes that APA finds more in alignment with member concerns, such as an effort to increase the mental health workforce (I believe through tele-psychiatry) and to increase the emphasis on parity. The bills requirement that every state have an outpatient civil commitment program may include funding to other types of treatment such as mental health courts, and I'm not aware of any changes to the idea that HIPAA privacy rights to patients will be modified such that mental health professionals will be permitted to communicate with caretakers of people with severe mental illnesses if it's felt to be necessary for the patient's safety or welfare. While the text of the bill has not been released yet, the APA has come out in support of the soon-to-be proposed legislation.
I was disappointed to see that APA supported this, and I'm planning to write an article on it. If you're a psychiatrist and an APA member, I'd love to hear your thoughts and possibly quote you. Feel free to comment here, or to contact me at shrinkrapblog at g mail dot com. And as always, everyone's thoughts are welcome.