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 WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued by the Mental Health Liaison Group:
 Millions of people suffering from mental illnesses will for the first time have access to health care under the historic reforms proposed by the Clinton Administration -- including universal coverage, portability of benefits and elimination of exclusions based on preexisting conditions. Thirty-eight (38) members of the Mental Health Liaison Group commend the Administration for focusing public attention on the needs of Americans with mental illnesses and on the destructive impact of mental illnesses as a major public health problem.
 We are pleased that the Administration has promised to eliminate discriminatory limits on the mental health benefit by the year 2001, but a promise is not a guarantee. The current proposal is an important first step. Even so, the proposed initial benefit contains significant limits on needed services for individuals with mental illnesses who require more intensive psychotherapy, community services or hospital care, and it fails to meet the special needs of children. The Mental Health Liaison Group and its members will continue to support nondiscriminatory coverage of all medically and psychologically necessary care until the promise of comprehensive benefits is realized.
 For too long society has failed to recognize the reality of mental illnesses and the suffering they cause. Mental health care must be provided on a par with that available for other illnesses. Accordingly, we are concerned with any cost-sharing requirements that may be so excessive as to place the benefit outside the financial means of many Americans. Mental health care is a controllable and cost-effective benefit that can lead to significant national savings in overall health care costs and will reduce losses to the economy due to absenteeism, impaired productivity and death.
 We commend the Administration for initiating healthcare reform and offer our assistance to the Administration and Congress in the months to come.
 The Mental Health Liaison Group is a Washington, DC-based coalition of national organizations representing consumers, family members, advocates, professionals and providers.
 The following 38 organizations have endorsed this statement:
 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
 202-966-7300, Mary Crosby
 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
 202-452-0109, John Hutchins
 American Association for Partial Hospitalization
 703-836-2274, Larry Best
 American Association of Children's Residential Centers
 202-638-1604, Claudia C. Waller
 American Association of Pastoral Counselors
 202-625-7597, Caesar A. Giolito
 American Association of Private Practice Psychiatrists
 202-363-6962, Lawrence C. Sack, MD
 American Counseling Association
 703-823-9800, Lesley Copeland
 American Family Foundation
 212-249-7693, Herbert Rosedale
 American Occupational Therapy Association
 301-948-9626, Donna Shank
 American Orthopsychiatric Association
 212-354-5770, Karen Kun
 American Psychiatric Association
 202-682-6138, John Blamphin
 American Psychoanalytic Association
 301-365-0373, Susan Lazar, MD
 American Psychological Association
 202-336-5898, Lynette Ciervo
 American Psychological Society
 202-783-2077, Donna Shank
 Anxiety Disorders Association of America
 301-231-9350, Jerilyn Ross
 Association of Mental Health Administrators
 708-480-9626, Ellen LoCurto
 Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
 202-467-5730, Joseph Manes
 The Center for Victims of Torture
 202-296-1180, John Salzberg
 Child Welfare League of America
 202-638-2952, Joyce Johnson
 Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
 301-948-0599, Wade Horn
 Cult Awareness Network
 202-867-6089, David Bardin
 The Employee Assistance Professionals Association
 703-522-6272, Maureen Kerrigan
 Family Service America, Inc.
 414-359-1040, Paula Purcell
 Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
 202-336-5920, Sarah Evans
 International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services
 410-730-7190, Ruth A. Hughes, Ph.D.
 National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
 703-524-7600, Farrell Fitch
 National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems
 202-408-9514, Stuart Campbell
 National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
 202-393-6700, Carole Szpak
 National Association of Psychiatric Treatment Centers for Children
 202-955-3828, Joy Midman
 National Association of Social Workers
 202-408-8600, Lucy Sanchez
 National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
 202-624-5837, Dr. Clarke Ross
 National Council of Community Mental Healthcare Centers
 301-984-6200, Joanne Petro
 National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association
 312-642-0049, Susan Dime-Meenan
 National Federation of Societies for Clinical Social Work
 703-370-4351, Susan Horne Quantannens, LCSW
 National Foundation for Depressive Illness
 212-268-4260, Debbi Honorof
 National Mental Health Association
 703-838-7530, Gina White
 National Organization of State Associations for Children
 202-232-8111, Pat Heinz
 World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, U.S. Branch
 201-784-9400, Murry Itzkowitz
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: Leslie Scallet of the Mental Health Liaison Group, 202-775-8826/

CO: Mental Health Liaison Group ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:

LD -- NY104 -- 4968 09/22/93 21:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 22, 1993

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