Let's get the IMD Exclusion Repealed! Please write to your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 2611 - "Increasing Behavioral Health Treatment Act"

The IMD Exclusion prevents federal Medicaid funds from covering inpatient services in a psychiatric facility with more than 16 beds for those suffering from "psychiatric illnesses" between the ages of 18 and 64, unless states and facilities meet specific requirements for waivers or utilize other mechanisms that allow for payment. It bars Medicaid enrollees with “mental diseases” from receiving the same level of care that enrollees without severe mental illness receive for physical ailments such as cancer and heart disease. In doing so, the exclusion denies equal protection under the law to the very group of people it is supposed to help. The IMD Exclusion is blatant discrimination against those with serious brain disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, commonly referred to as serious mental illnesses. For more information on why the IMD Exclusion must be repealed, please see our IMD Exclusion Position Statement.

People who are denied medical treatment instead, are abandoned, criminalized or left to die in our streets. Billions of dollars, the National Shattering Silence Coalition refers to as the #CostOfNotCaring, are wasted in the process. We must end the suffering by bringing about parity and a right to treatment under Medicaid/Medicare. NAMI, the National Shattering Silence Coalition, the Manhattan Institute, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Mental Illness Policy Org, the Treatment Advocacy Center, the Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance, the National Association of Medicaid Directors, the National Association for Children's Behavioral Health, and many other organizations and advocates support the full repeal of the IMD Exclusion.

Representative Grace Napolitano representing the 32nd district of California has introduced H.R. 2611 - "Increasing Behavioral Health Treatment Act" that would, among other things, repeal the IMD Exclusion. So far, the bill has 11 co-sponsors. We need many more! We also need someone from the Senate to introduce a bill mirroring H.R. 2611 in the Senate.

Our Call to Action is:

  • Write a letter to your Representative asking him/her to co-sponsor H.R. 2611.
  • After writing your letter, please pick up your phone and contact your Senator asking for a meeting to discuss the IMD Exclusion and the need for its repeal. At the meeting, ask him/her to introduce a bill that mirrors H.R. 2611 in the Senate. Emails are appreciated, though not nearly as effective as actually meeting with your legislator.
  • Last, but not least, please join our coalition if you haven't already! We need your voice!

Our actions are the ones that will spur others to join us in ending this discrimination and the resulting abandonment, criminalization, and death of those with these illnesses, and their family members who suffer right along with them. Please let me know right away via email at coordinator@nationalshatteringsilencecoalition.org if you are not OK with us using your testimony on our website, social media, the news media or elsewhere. If I don't hear back from you, I will assume it's OK. Your stories are so important. They need to be told and shared! #TreatmentBeforeTragedy, #ABedInstead, #righttotreatment and #parityforsbd is your rallying cry for repealing the IMD Exclusion. #ShatteringSilence

With gratitude and hope,

Jeanne Gore

National Shattering Silence Coalition (NSSC)

Coordinator & Co-Chair Steering Committee

Letter Campaign by
Jeanne Gore
Shapleigh, Maine