Policy UpdatesTexas House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness

Texas House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness

SUMMARY – During the 85th Legislative Interim, in December 2017, the Texas House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness met to hear testimony. President and CEO Andy Keller, PhD, was invited testimony and presented on “Improving Competitiveness Through Mental Health Treatment and Brain Health Research”.

$1.4 billion

annual emergency room costs from inadequately treated mental illness and substance use disorder*

$187.8 billion

annual cost to U.S. employers due to depression in the workplace*

*as of date of testimony

To begin his testimony, Dr. Keller focused on ways that the Legislature has significantly increased funding for mental health over the last three legislative sessions.

Addressing the Needs of Today through state-local partnerships:

  • Partner with medical schools to modernize aging state hospitals.
  • Partner with communities to: reduce the number of individuals with mental illness cycling through our jails (85(R) SB 292), help address community needs (85(R) HB 13), fill gaps for veterans and their families (84(R) SB 55), and build treatment capacity for children in foster care (85(R) SB 74 and HHSC Rider 172).

Beginning to Build the Integrated Systems of Tomorrow:

  • Provide enforcement tools to make parity a reality (85(R) HB 10).
  • Intervene earlier for mothers (85(R) HB 2466) and children (85(R) HB 1600).

Dr. Keller went on to cover topics including mental health care spending in the U.S. and in Texas, details on the ideal system for mental health treatment, and focused on success in Texas as a world leader in cancer and other health research, reinforcing that research is a driver of both economic opportunity and better care.