Legislation aims to improve mental health care in emergency departments

Two U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to improve the way patients receive care for mental illness in emergency departments. 

The Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act 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. 

"With the ever-growing demands on our emergency departments, it is essential we take steps to ensure all patients, especially those with mental health care needs, promptly receive the care they deserve,” U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, one of the sponsors of the bill, said in a release. “This bill will allow emergency departments to customize innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of these patients.” 

The bill's other sponsor, Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., added, "Emergency departments are stretched thin, and as demand for mental health services continues to rise, we must ensure that emergency departments have the resources that they need to connect patients with appropriate community-based mental health care.”

By:  Wendy Holdren
Source: Beckley Register-Herald