2013 Lege–Mental Health

Katharine Ligon

This is the first legislative session the Center will have a dedicated staff member to focus on issues related to behavioral health.  In this position I will research, analyze and advocate for policies and fiscal matters that enhance the quality and capacity of mental health and substance abuse services and treatment in Texas.

There will be a lot of moving parts to monitor.  Since the end of last session, several important research projects examined the current statutes and public systems related to mental health and substance abuse in Texas, which will prompt legislation this session aimed at revising the Mental Health Code and adopting policies to improve patient outcomes, access to services, and service utilization.  I will also monitor proposals to impose criminal penalties on persons with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, with a goal of promoting treatments when those individuals engage in criminal behaviors, as opposed to simple punishment.

Looking ahead to the 2014 launch of Affordable Care Act, I will support efforts to give the Texas Department of insurance the power to enforce mental health parity laws in individual and small group health plans.  Finally, letting US citizen adults enroll in Medicaid under the ACA would improve outcomes for Texans individuals with behavioral health needs by giving access to regular affordable treatment services.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

5 Comments

  • Please, “behavioral health” sounds like a category in which the individual has control/choice over actions. “Mental illness” is a brain disorder, no different that Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS, TBI, epilepsy. It is an illness, not bad manners or criminality. Until we acknowledge that, there will be no “parity.”

    Pamela Baggett 16.01.2013
    • “no different THAN…”

      Pamela Baggett 16.01.2013
  • Thank you to CPPP for including a staff person dedicated to behavioral health! Good luck Katharine!

    Jennifer Battle 16.01.2013
  • The Center supports the holistic definition provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in that the term “behavioral health” is a general term that encompasses the promotion of emotional health; the prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders; and treatments and services for substance abuse, addiction, substance use disorders, mental illness, and/or mental disorders.

    Katharine Ligon 16.01.2013
  • Should be, “no different FROM.”

    Excellent that CPPP has created this position, and that Katharine is so perfectly in it.

    Houston 16.01.2013

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