WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) reintroduced the Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act, legislation to improve the way patients receive care for mental illness in emergency departments. The bipartisan bill would establish a competitive grant program for emergency departments to adopt more collaborative and connected mental health care models and deploy new technology to better connect patients with appropriate resources in their communities.
“Millions of Americans are living with mental health issues and many turn to their local emergency department for care. Too often, the specialized care and care settings these patients need is not readily available, resulting in many hours – and sometimes days – waiting for the care they deserve,” Senator Capito said. “Our bill seeks to address these issues by allowing emergency departments to customize innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of their patients.”
“Too many of our emergency rooms are not equipped to deal with mental health care. When a patient is in crisis, they need help immediately – yet they often face long waits to receive care. Our bipartisan bill would help emergency departments connect patients more quickly with mental health resources and increase the numbers of beds in their ER. I will continue working to help ensure that Granite Staters and all Americans are able to access the care that they need, when they need it,” Senator Hassan said.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an already growing demand for mental health care services due to rising rates of mental health conditions, substance abuse, and suicide. This continued increased
The Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act would provide resources for emergency departments to adopt more collaborative and connected care models and deploy new technology to better connect patients with appropriate resources in their communities. The legislation recognizes that needs vary by patient, provider, and community and allows emergency departments to design the solutions that will best work for them.
Specifically, the legislation would:
More information on the bill is available here.
Legislative text is available here.
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