The House Energy and Commerce Committee today voted 53-0 to approve the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) after several modifications were made to the bill as a result of bipartisan negotiations. In a letter to committee leaders, AHA said the amended bill “represents a solid foundation for improving behavioral health care.” Specifically, AHA voiced support for provisions that would reauthorize suicide prevention programs and authorize a minority fellowship program for mental health professionals; codify a Medicaid managed care regulation allowing optional state coverage of Institutions for Mental Disease services for adults; and require the Department of Health and Human Services to clarify the circumstances in which covered entities may disclose protected health information of a patient with mental illness. AHA expressed disappointment that the amended bill does not revise 42 CFR Part 2 regulations to permit sharing a patient’s alcohol- and drug-abuse treatment records within health information exchanges, health homes and other integrated care networks. “Absent revisions to Part 2 that go beyond what [the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] has proposed, persons with substance use disorders will not have access to fully coordinated care, and we look forward to working with Congress to modernize these rules,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels.