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Representative Tim Murphy

Omnibus Funds Key Policies in the
Helping Families in Mental
Health Crisis Act

Murphy applauds advancement of community-based alternative to incarceration and early intervention for those with serious mental illness  

 

For Immediate Release: 12.16.2015
Contact: Murphy Press 202.225.2301

(Washington D.C.) – Later this week members of Congress will be voting on an omnibus appropriations bill which contains funding for two centerpiece components of Congressman Tim Murphy’s landmark mental health legislation: the Assisted Outpatient Treatment AOT) Grant Program and the Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) program. 

Murphy’s Assisted Outpatient Treatment Grant Program for Individuals With Serious Mental Illness, created in Section 224 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, was authorized by Congress and signed into law by the President last year, but the program had not been yet fully-funded. With the passage of the appropriations bill, the funds will be available under the grant program for states and counties to operate Assistant Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs, a successful alternative to jails, prisons, and long-term inpatient care for those with serious mental illness cycling through the system but never receiving needed care. 

“AOT empowers patients and families to work together so they can function in the community with the highest degree of independence. Passage of this legislation will be a giant step towards delivering desperately needed care for the countless families from across all corners of our country caring for loved ones with schizophrenia and severe mental illnesses” said Murphy.

Established in 45 states and dozens of counties across the country as an alternative to long-term inpatient care, court-ordered AOT allows a court to direct treatment in the community for the hardest-to-treat patients — the fewer than one percent of people with serious mental illness — who have a history of arrest, repeat hospitalizations, and violence because of their illness. AOT has reduced rates of imprisonment, homelessness, and costly hospitalizations for chronically mentally ill participants by upwards of 70 percent. It has also reduced annual Medicaid costs by 44% for participants. 

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act also authorizes, for the first time in federal law, the Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) program. This intensive early intervention program for individuals experiencing their first episode of a serious mental illness was developed by the National Institute of Mental Health and represents the highest quality evidenced-based early intervention for individuals with Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder.  

“A cornerstone principle of my Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act is promoting early intervention and supportive services necessary for those with serious mental illness. No longer will we accept the status quo that leaves millions outside the healthcare system because of serious brain disorders. Investing in evidence-based services early, like RAISE, will for the first time create a path towards recovery that starts before a serious mental illness progresses to stage 4” continued Murphy.  

Information on the Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), including bill text, a summary, and additional letters of support, can be viewed here

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Murphy Press | Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18)
2332 Rayburn House Office Building | Washington, DC  20515
(202) 225-2301 | (202) 225-1844 (f)
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