HARRISBURG – State Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana), a longtime champion for mental and behavioral health treatment reform, is being appointed by Gov. Josh Shapiro to serve on the inaugural Pennsylvania Behavioral Health Council.
“It is an honor to be asked by the governor to serve in this capacity,” Struzzi said. “The Pennsylvanians I’ll be working for are among our most at-risk citizens. Addressing the shortcomings of our current behavioral health system will be a challenge, but it is one we can no longer ignore. We are measuring the cost in lives lost and that is too high of a price to pay.”
Shapiro created the council in October by executive order, bringing together mental health and substance use disorder stakeholders to improve accessibility to services. It is charged with creating a statewide action plan to address any gaps in access, affordability, or delivery of services.
Struzzi is chairman of the House Human Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Mental Health Services and the author of legislation last session which legalizes fentanyl test strips for personal use in the Commonwealth. In addition to many other bills this session, Struzzi’s legislative resume in the current term includes introducing the following bills:
· House Bill 22
- would direct the Department of Human Services to develop a statewide process to place patients enrolled in Medicaid with behavioral health or other long-term care needs in appropriate care settings in a timely matter.
· House Bill 24
- would improve access to mental health care in Pennsylvania by covering start-up costs for Collaborative Care Models, which deliver timely psychiatric care in the primary care setting.
· House Bill 89
- would establish a public awareness campaign to provide information regarding the programs and services available for first responders, healthcare workers, and other frontline workers suffering from mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
· House Bill 1245
- would allow the Commonwealth to better address the rise in viral hepatitis, HIV and overdose deaths by expanding access to the public health intervention of syringe services programs.
Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Struzzi’s Indiana district office at 724-465-0220.
Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives