Con­gres­sional ac­tion needed to ad­dress men­tal-health cri­sis

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the re­cent ar­ti­cle “Rul­ing could spur ac­tion to ad­dress psy­chi­atric board­ing cri­sis” (Mod­ern Health­care Sept. 1, p. 8), as the CEO of a com­mu­nity hos­pi­tal in North Carolina, I and my staff are chal­lenged pro­fes­sion­ally, eth­i­cally and emotionally by the dire plight of men­tal-health pa­tients in our com­mu­nity. The prob­lem is the same across the coun­try.

I call on the Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion to join forces with the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion and other or­ga­ni­za­tions to urge ac­tion from Wash­ing­ton that ad­dresses the men­tal-health cri­sis in our na­tion. What is needed is a con­gres­sional hear­ing on men­tal health. Law­mak­ers need to hear the voices of the ex­perts and the fam­i­lies who deal with th­ese is­sues ev­ery day in car­ing for their loved ones.

We also need to de­velop a plan that will in­clude fund­ing for more men­tal-health­care providers and more fa­cil­i­ties, along with a na­tional fo­cus of iden­ti­fy­ing causative fac­tors and im­ple­ment­ing a na­tional pro­gram in pre­vent­ing the ris­ing epi­demic of men­tal-health dis­or­ders. Our long his­tory of in­dif­fer­ence to men­tal health is eth­i­cally and morally un­sus­tain­able.

Ed Piper Pres­i­dent and CEO Onslow Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal Jack­sonville, N.C.

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