On July 6, the U.S. House of Representatives nearly unanimously approved the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, the most significant mental health reform proposed in decades, introduced by Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA).  After the summer Congressional recess, advocates, including CHOP, hope that the Senate will take up a similar measure.

The Act is an important beginning to the necessary progress to dramatically improve mental health care in the United States. Among numerous provisions, the bill 

  • Allows Medicaid to reimburse for physical health and mental health services received within the same day, which is of particular importance as CHOP integrates behavioral health services into its primary care practices.
  • Reauthorizes funds to create a loan relief program for pediatric specialists, including those providing child and adolescent mental and behavioral health care services, in an effort to address the severe shortage of pediatric mental health providers nationwide.
  • Reauthorizes the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which focuses on youth suicide prevention. 

During the last year, CHOP, led by Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Tami Benton, MD, hosted two forums on youth suicide prevention, bringing together public officials and the Philadelphia community in an effort to better coordinate suicide prevention services. Dr. Benton also was recently selected by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, to receive the Community Impact Award for outstanding contributions in suicide prevention and awareness.