ALBANY, N.Y. – While one New York advocacy group has honored a Pennsylvania congressman for his legislation to overhaul mental health treatment nationally, others say it would violate patients’ civil rights.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican and former psychology professor from Upper St. Clair, says his bill would provide treatment for many of the 11 million Americans with severe schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression who don’t get it.
Critics, including two-dozen protesters at his award Friday from the New York chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, say it would authorize forced treatment, limit privacy rights and shift funding from voluntary programs to court-ordered treatment and psychiatric hospitals.
Police called to the Desmond hotel in suburban Albany didn’t arrest protesters.
Murphy’s bill hasn’t advanced, though provisions authorizing pilot projects have been approved.