National Alliance on Mental Illness
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For Immediate Release, December 29, 2000
Contact: Chris Marshall
On December 19, the General Accounting Office (GAO) - an investigative arm of Congress - issued a long awaited report on community-based mental illness treatment services. This report was requested last year by Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth (R-DE) and the Committee's Ranking Democrat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Both senators have had a long interest in mental illness, particularly Senator Moynihan, who served on a landmark reform commission in New York State in the 1960s under the late Governor Averell Harriman and was involved in drafting the Community Mental Health Center Act of 1963 in the Kennedy Administration. Unfortunately, neither senator will be returning to the Congress in 2001, Chairman Roth having lost reelection and Senator Moynihan retiring.
The GAO report contains several important findings:
While this GAO report is an important step forward in documenting trends in community-based programs and spending, it does not include several important issues that were not included in the original questions put forward by Senators Roth and Moynihan. For example, GAO was not asked to determine whether community mental health centers (CMHCs) that have received federal funds have maintained their focus on serving adults with severe mental illnesses or have expanded their mission to prevention of all mental disorders in the broader population. Likewise, the GAO was not asked to assess the link between cuts in state and local spending on community-based services and the growing concentration of adults with severe mental illness in jails and prisons.
The full text of the GAO report can viewed at: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?rptno=gao-01-224
Copies can also be ordered by phone at 202-512-6000, 202-512-6061 (fax), refer to report number GAO-01-224.