FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2013
WASHINGTON – The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) today joined the Obama administration for the launch of a national conversation to increase awareness of mental health, a particular focus for NAPH in the context of the vulnerable populations its members serve.
Represented at the White House event by its incoming board chair, Thomas P. Traylor, vice president, federal, state, and local programs, Boston Medical Center, NAPH was among a select group of health care and mental health organizations invited to the launch.
NAPH members have long worked to improve access to mental health care, including integrating mental health services into primary care and emergency preparedness planning, and many are the largest or only provider of mental health services in their communities. In 2010, national data show NAPH members represented 9.4 percent of total inpatient psychiatric care bed supply nationwide, but constituted just 2 percent of the nation’s acute care hospitals.
In a policy brief earlier this year, NAPH said that while its members fill a growing national need for mental health services and violence prevention, they do so under strained budgets and workforce shortages that can create crowded emergency departments and persistent gaps in care.
“Even we cannot reach all those in need of care, and many are still falling through the cracks in our mental health system,” Traylor said. “We must devote more resources toward this essential aspect of care and build greater understanding of the particular challenges the mentally ill face.”
Traylor applauded the administration’s efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues. “We are pleased to answer the president’s call to launch a national conversation on this critical issue and will work to support the administration as this initiative moves forward.”
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About the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH)
NAPH represents the nation’s safety net hospitals and health systems, which provide high volumes of care to low-income individuals. These facilities offer high-quality health services for all patients, including the uninsured and underinsured, regardless of ability to pay. In addition to helping ensure access to health care for all Americans, safety net hospitals provide many essential communitywide services, such as primary care, trauma care, and neonatal intensive care. Safety net hospitals also train many of America’s doctors, nurses, and other health care providers. Since its inception in 1980, NAPH has cultivated a strong presence on Capitol Hill, with the executive branch, and in many state capitols. NAPH advocates on behalf of its members on such issues as Medicaid, Medicare, and access to health care services for vulnerable populations. For more information, visit our website at http://www.naph.org/.