H.R. 34 – Bipartisan Passage of Significant Mental Health Legislation: The 21st Century Cures Act

On December 7th, Congress passed landmark mental health legislation in the form of H.R. 34, The 21st Century Cures Act.  Among other provisions, a brief review of the bill revealed the following new mental health legislation:

  • Creates a new position of Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse;
  • Establishes new grant programs for early psychosis intervention;
  • Removes barriers to individuals accessing mental-health care and services;
  • Promotes jail diversion initiatives and other programs to keep the mentally ill from being incarcerated;
  • Expands access to mental healthcare providers and beds for patients;
  • Requires health insurance companies to cover more mental health treatments;
  • Requires substantial new data collection around mental illness and the criminal justice system;
  • For families and communities that have lost too many loved ones to the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic, it invests $1 billion to address this crisis; and
  • It invests nearly $3 billion to build upon major biomedical research initiatives known as the BRAIN and Precision Medicine Initiatives – which are tackling diseases like Alzheimer’s and creating new research models to find cures and better target treatments.
Statement by the President on Senate Passage of H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/12/07/statement-president-senate-passage-hr-34-21st-century-cures-act
An overview, details, and the full-text of H.R. 34 is at this link (The legislation is best viewed as a PDF): https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr34/text

It will be interesting to track the implementation of this bill and the passage of attendant regulations, especially in light of upcoming White House changes.  We will provide updates as we learn them.


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