State Rep. Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, said Tuesday that he and his colleagues on the House Human Services Committee unanimously passed two bills aimed at improving access to mental health care in Pennsylvania.
“Providing behavioral services to those who desperately need them remains a priority of mine,” Struzzi said. “I am pleased to see these bills, which I co-sponsor, move forward without a single negative vote, which shows how much both sides of the aisle agree on the seriousness of our mental health crisis.”
Moved to the Plenary Assembly for consideration:
• House Bill 2686, of which Struzzi is one of 19 co-sponsors, would create a grant program to help small medical practices convert to an integrated care model that can provide timely psychiatric care within the framework of primary care.
“In what’s called the collaborative care model, a primary care provider leads a team that includes a consultant psychiatrist and a behavioral health care lead,” Struzzi said. “The team is assigned a group of patients to follow using an evidence-based and measurement-based care plan.”
• House Bill 2806, of which Struzzi is again one of 19 co-sponsors, would establish a public awareness campaign about mental health services for first responders, healthcare workers and other frontline workers.
“Healthcare professionals, first responders and law enforcement have tough jobs, and we need to do everything we can to get these people on the front lines taken care of,” Struzzi said.
Struzzi is also working to push his Bill 1644 through the legislative process, a bill he introduced in June 2021 with seven co-sponsors and the State House passed May 25, 198-0.
“This legislation, which sits in a Senate committee, would develop a statewide process to place patients, enrolled in Medicaid, with behavioral health or other long-term care needs in appropriate care facilities in a timely manner,” Struzzi said. “Nearly two million Pennsylvanians are thought to struggle with mental illness, and almost as many live in a community that lacks enough mental health professionals. These are issues we can no longer ignore.