White House Gun Plan Includes Strong Roles for Medical, Mental Health Providers

The Obama Administration’s gun control proposal includes multiple provisions involving health care and mental health providers, as well as schools and health insurers. They include:

* Clarifying that no federal laws including HIPAA prohibit medical and mental health providers from reporting to police direct or credible threats of violence (click here for a clarification letter from HHS/OCR),

* Clarifying that language in the Affordable Care Act does NOT prohibit physicians from asking patients about guns in the house and gun safety,

* Finalizing regulations, expected in February 2013, requiring parity of group health coverage of mental health services,

* Ensuring Medicaid beneficiaries get quality mental health coverage,

* Implementing a new $40 million initiative to train teachers and others who regularly interact with students to recognize the need for mental health treatment and ensure students are referred for such services,

* Implementing a new program to spend $25 million to support individuals age 16 to 25 with mental health or substance abuse issues,

* Implementing another $25 million to establish school-based violence prevention programs that  include offering mental health services,

* Providing $30 million to help schools develop and implement emergency management plans, and

* Providing $50 million in stipends and tuition reimbursement to train more than 5,000 mental health professionals to serve students and young adults.

The gun control plan is available here.

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