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Action Alert-Tell Your Senators: Take Forced Treatment Out of Doc Fix Bill

Tell Your Senators: Take Forced Treatment Out of Doc Fix Bill

On Monday-March 31,  the Senate is likely to vote on a bill (H.R. 4302) to prevent a cut in payments to physicians under Medicare (the “Doc Fix”) that includes funding for a totally unrelated program that subjects people in crisis to forced psychiatric treatment.

The House passed H.R. 4302 on a voice vote with no debate last Thursday. The Senate could do the same Monday and the President could sign it before midnight. 

The 123-page Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, H.R. 4302, includes a four-year, $60 million grant program (Sec. 224) to expand involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC) – also called Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) – in states that have laws authorizing IOC. The laws allow courts to mandate someone with a serious mental illness to follow a specific treatment plan, usually requiring medication, which is overseen by a judge.

The evidence demonstrates that involuntary outpatient commitment is ineffective, increases costs with minimal returns and that there are more effective alternatives.

Contact your Senators today. Tell them to take the funding for forced treatment out of the Doc Fix bill. Make these points:

  • Section 224 has nothing to do with Medicare.
  • It would use Federal dollars to pay for forced psychiatric treatment in our communities.
  • Forced treatment is traumatizing.
  • It criminalizes people in crisis.
  • It scares people away from seeking help.
  • It is costly and ineffective.
  • Keep Section 224 out of the Doc Fix bill.  

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