PRA Commends Creation of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics; Expresses Concern Regarding Possible Expansion of Involuntary Treatment

As the leading organization focused on growing and training the recovery workforce, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (PRA) applauds the Congress for including in the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act” (PAMA; H.R. 4302) provisions that will improve delivery of behavioral health services, but expresses concern regarding sections that may be used to expand involuntary treatment.

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PRA looks forward to an open dialogue with policy makers as we work to implement the creation of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and to seek alternatives to the potential for expansion of involuntary treatment.

McLean, VA (PRWEB) April 17, 2014

As the leading organization focused on growing and training the recovery workforce, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (PRA) applauds the Congress for including in the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act” (PAMA; H.R. 4302) provisions that will improve delivery of behavioral health services, but expresses concern regarding sections that may be used to expand involuntary treatment.

PAMA was signed into law on April 1, 2014 and includes provisions previously contained in the “Excellence in Mental Health Act” (S. 264/H.R. 1263), of which PRA is a supporter. Specifically, PAMA launches a pilot program to create Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics designed to serve individuals with serious mental illness and substance abuse challenges. PRA believes this is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate innovation in service delivery in behavioral health services in the eight states that will be selected to participate in the 2-year pilot programs. We look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as they develop the roadmap and specifications for the pilot and many of our members aspire to participating in the program once launched.

Unfortunately, PAMA also included authorization for a program that may be used to expand the use of involuntary treatment. PRA believes that involuntary treatment is a last resort, used only when it is clear that an individual is a danger to themselves or others. Recovery is possible when the individual in treatment acts in partnership with the rehabilitation workforce and strengthens integration into their community. We invite policymakers to work with PRA to more fully understand how this profession provides, on a daily basis, the kind of treatment that brings individuals through rehabilitation into a recovery that they own and continue with, and how this is a far more effective way than coercively confining and “treating” individuals against their will. As such, PRA opposes the implementation of those provisions of PAMA that would inappropriately expand utilization of involuntary treatment.

PRA appreciates that PAMA has highlighted important issues on which our members work every day with individuals and their families. We look forward to an open dialogue with policy makers as we work to implement the creation of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and to seek alternatives to the potential for expansion of involuntary treatment so that we can continue to lead more individuals along their path to recovery.

About the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (PRA): As the nonprofit organization focused on growing and training the recovery workforce, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, is the preeminent association for the development, support, and dissemination of information about the practice of psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery. PRA believes that the practice of psychiatric rehabilitation leads to recovery, and thus is committed to the growth of psychiatric rehabilitation in both quantity and quality, and to the universal availability of state-of-the-art psychiatric rehabilitation services for all individuals with mental illness who seek such services. For more information, visit http://www.psychrehabassociation.org.