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Mental health bills get public hearing

A dozen bills, many of which originated from the Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health, received a public hearing Wednesday before the Assembly Committee on Health. The task force wrapped up its effort to identify potential improvements to the state’s mental health system earlier this month, issuing a substantive final report. Many of those report items now have been drafted as individual pieces of legislation.

The Wisconsin Medical Society has been very supportive of the task force’s efforts and highlighted its appreciation for the work in testimony provided to the Health Committee on Tuesday. That testimony also emphasized support for three of the proposals in front of the committee:

  • Assembly Bill 452 – creates a child psychiatry consultation program for physicians needing a consult with a pediatric or adolescent psychiatrist.
  • Assembly Bill 453 – will bring the state’s mental health privacy laws into harmony with current HIPAA standards. Currently, state law in some areas is actually stricter than HIPAA, which can muddle efficient care coordination for patients needing mental health services.
  • Assembly Bill 454 – creates a primary care and psychiatry shortage grant program, aimed at attracting medical students into practicing in these needed specialties in underserved areas of the state.

The bills could receive a committee vote as soon as next week and a full Assembly vote in early November.

For more information, e-mail Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government Relations Department.

Back to October 24, 2013 Medigram