Schlossberg bipartisan mental health bill to create local fatality review teams unanimously approved by House Human Services Committee

HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 -- A bill sponsored by state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, to establish local overdose fatality review teams to prevent future overdose deaths was unanimously approved by the House Human Services committee today.

Schlossberg’s legislation (H.B.1308) now moves to the full House.

“My legislation will help break down barriers to treatment and allow patients to receive care that focuses on the whole person,” Schlossberg said. “This legislation has broad bipartisan support, including support from the Speaker of the House, and buy-in from patients and providers alike. It shows that improving mental health care can and should be an issue that cuts across partisan affiliation.”

Schlossberg said local communities and agencies across Pennsylvania would establish overdose fatality review teams like Pennsylvania’s Methadone Death and Incident Review Team, a localized overdose fatality review team that would bring together representatives from various public safety, public health, and social services agencies to identify system gaps and opportunities to prevent future overdose deaths.

The Lehigh Valley lawmaker said the overdose crisis is not stagnant, instead it is rapidly shifting and the need for timely, in-depth data and actionable recommendations has become increasingly vital.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a greater understanding that mental health and physical health do not exist in separate silos. When somebody has a challenge with mental health, it likely has an effect on physical health. Likewise, when somebody has a physical health challenge, it can have an effect on mental health. It’s time we stop treating physical health and mental health in silos and integrate treatments,” Schlossberg said.