Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN06) introduced the bipartisan Securing Facilities for Mental Health Services Act. The bill was co-led by Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15).
“Too many Americans are forced to live with untreated mental illness because they are unable to access proper care,” said Emmer. “If we eliminate barriers to the development and expansion of mental health care facilities, we will be one step closer to solving the inpatient bed shortage.”
“Expanding the Mortgage Insurance Assistance Program to include inpatient mental health hospitals is a crucial step in sending the message that mental health care is health care. I’m proud to support this legislation with Congressman Emmer that will expand access to this impactful program and strengthen our mental health care infrastructure,” said Representative Torres.
Specifically, the bill would eliminate Section 242 of the National Housing Act, the provision prohibiting inpatient psychiatric hospitals from applying for mortgage assistance. Hospitals use mortgage assistance to build out new facilities and expand existing ones. Currently, inpatient psychiatric hospitals are the only type of hospitals restricted in this manner.
Shawn Coughlin, President of the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare said, “NABH is pleased to support this important legislation to improve access to behavioral health services. The fallout from COVID has made it clear that the country needs more inpatient facilities to handle the increased number of Americans of all ages seeking care. We applaud the introduction of this bill and look forward to working with Congressman Emmer and Torres to see it enacted.”
Inpatient psychiatric care is a form of mental health care focused on crisis stabilization and patient safety. According to a 2021 study published by the National Institutes of Health, the United States has 21 psychiatric beds per every 100,000 individuals, approximately 40% lower than the estimated number of beds needed.
Read more about Congressman Emmer’s work to increase the number of psychiatric beds available to patients here.
You can find the bill text here.