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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. REED. Mr. President, today I introduce, along with my colleague, Senator Stabenow, the Community Based Mental Health Infrastructure Improvements Act.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2011, Rhode Island has the highest rate of serious mental illness among adults in the country. According to this survey, approximately 7.2 percent of adults aged 18 or older in my state have a serious mental illness, above the 4.6 percent national average.

While too often the stigma of mental illness prevents individuals from seeking diagnosis and treatment, thankfully, states like Rhode Island have made strides in meeting this challenge. In Rhode Island, mental health parity laws have been on the books since 2001. Similarly, Rhode Island's Medicaid program, RIteCare, covers mental and behavioral health care for low-income children and families.

Those who need this treatment must have access to it. Community Mental Health Centers play a vital role in helping individuals get the mental and behavioral health care that they need to lead healthier, more productive lives. In 2012, Community Mental Health Centers in Rhode Island treated approximately 45,000 individuals at over 1 million distinct encounters. Next year, the number of individuals treated by Community Mental Health Centers will likely increase, as over 50,000 Rhode Islanders gain access to health insurance.

As more Americans across the country gain access to health insurance, these centers and other providers will see an increased caseload. Yet, many Community Mental Health Centers are in outdated and outmoded facilities that make if difficult to provide the optimal level of care.

The Community Based Mental Health Infrastructure Improvements Act we are introducing today would support the necessary updates and expansions of some facilities, and the construction of entirely new facilities in other instances in order to meet the growing demand.

I am pleased that this legislation has also been included in a broader bill, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which I joined Senators Stabenow, Blunt, Boxer, Collins, Leahy and Rubio in introducing today, to make other updates to the way Community Mental Health Centers are reimbursed for services. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the critical needs of our mental and behavioral health care delivery system.


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