Flanked by mental health leaders and relatives of Sandy Hook victims, Senator Chris Murphy touted the process the Mental Health Reform Bill made this week in the Senate.
The Mental Health Reform Act would increase the amount of federal dollars for states to use for mental health assistance.
Murphy told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the bill would provide long overdue updates to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The bill would address childhood warning signs of psychotic episodes, change medical records laws to make it easier for physicians to share information with other caregivers.
“If something like the Mental Health Reform Act were in place a few years ago, perhaps I’d be rushing back to Newtown now to meet the school bus,” said Mark Barden, father of Sandy Hook shooting victim Daniel Barden and founder of Sandy Hook Promise.
Belden joined Bill Sherlach, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittman along with other advocates Friday.
This bill folds in other changes backed by Murphy, specifically the Treat Act, which would expand the number of patients that could be prescribed buprenorphine by a physician. Current DEA rules limit prescribers to only taking on 100 patients at a time. Murphy’s expansion would allow Nurse Practitioners and other medical professionals to prescribe the drug.
Murphy admitted funding will be an issue. A vote on the Senate floor has not yet been scheduled.