CHA News Article

Senate Subcommittee Hearing Focuses on Psychiatric Bed Shortage

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations this week held a hearing titled Where Have All the Patients Gone? Examining the Psychiatric Bed Shortage. Chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and co-chaired by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), the hearing included testimony from families, clinicians, emergency room physicians and law enforcement representatives, who shared their firsthand experiences with people with mental illnesses who have ended up in jails or on the streets because appropriate care was not available to them. Discussion also focused on the role that the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion plays in creating access barriers for disabled and poor Americans. The IMD exclusion prevents states from accessing federal matching funds for adult Medicaid enrollees (ages 21 to 64) receiving acute care in psychiatric hospitals. A transcript of the hearing with complete witness testimony is available online.