Nurses can and should be involved in the process of policymaking, which may need interaction with legislators. Therefore, nurses should be able to locate the policymaker who can help in developing bills and introducing new laws. The debate concerning the integration of mental health services into primary care is still ongoing, but it has been found that it may have a positive impact on patient outcomes and the system as a whole (Crowley & Kirschner, 2015; Press et al., 2017). This paper includes and information about Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Florida legislator, and his potential attitude towards the Behavioral Health Care Integration Act of 2017.
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Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez’s Background and Political Involvement
Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez is a Democrat, and he was elected to the US Senate in 2016. Senator Rodriguez is an attorney and has a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and B.A. degree from Brown University (The Florida Senate, 2018). As far as his public service activities, the senator was Vice-Chair of Miami Dade Legislative Delegation from 2015 to 2016 and was a member of the Community Relations Board in 2012.
In his newsletter for the 2018 legislative session, Senator Rodriguez announced his commitment to such areas as environmental protection, small business support, students support, assistance to immigrant families, workplace safety, and community advocacy (“The Rodriguez Report,” 2018). The senator introduced three bills that are now under consideration (The Florida Senate, 2018). Two of these bills address the issues related to construction, and one of them is concerned with the regulation of conversion therapy. He has not co-introduced any bills so far, and he does not have responsibilities in any committees.
Although Senator Rodriguez is involved in the development of policies addressing construction issues, his interest in the US healthcare system is also apparent. The senator introduced the bill that prohibits the provision of conversion therapy to people under 18 years old (The Florida Senate, 2018). Therefore, he can support the enactment of the law addressing mental health integration into primary care. However, when communicating with the legislator, it is essential to provide compelling evidence and stress that the issue needs quite an urgent solution.
What do you think about the quality of the provided mental-health services in the USA?
I believe the US healthcare system has certain weaknesses that are mainly related to access to high-quality services. Mental health services can serve as an illustration of this argument. The majority of people cannot afford such services, which results in numerous public health issues. To receive mental health services, people may need to pay out of pocket, which is often a problem due to their tight family budgets.
What is your stance concerning mental health legislation in the United States?
I introduced An Act Relating to Conversion Therapy, which was a result of my collaboration with local healthcare entities and activists. I researched the matter and learned that there are many gaps in the legislation linked to mental health. I believe this is one of the reasons why mental health is characterized by so many issues, especially when it comes to equity. It is critical to make sure that all major processes related to this sphere are properly regulated.
What is your position regarding the Behavioral Health Care Integration Act of 2017
Of course, I will have to learn more about the matter before supporting this bill. However, I believe this could be an effective law that would make healthcare services more accessible. More people will receive the necessary services in the primary care setting. Americans, especially underprivileged populations, have to face numerous issues, which have adverse effects on mental health. These problems tend to be untreated which results in the development of more severe conditions. Therefore, such laws can have a positive effect on the development of the healthcare system and public health.
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The position of the senator is quite expected as he is a Democrat who tries to improve the well-being of all people residing in the USA. Crowley and Kirschner (2015) state that the integration of mental health into primary care is associated with positive patient outcomes. Press et al. (2017) suggest that such efforts can help make US health care more affordable and cost-effective. These are the outcomes Senator Rodriguez targets as the bill he introduced is grounded on these values and goals.
Conclusion and Reflection
On balance, it is possible to state that Senator Rodriguez is likely to support the Behavioral Health Care Integration Act of 2017. In my opinion, his current political agenda is consistent with the aims and goals associated with this legislation. The senator is willing to ensure that the healthcare system is properly regulated and all people have equal access to high-quality services. It is noteworthy that the senator does not have substantial experience in this sphere as he only worked on one bill related to medical issues. Nevertheless, I believe Senator Rodriguez can be addressed if the assistance of a legislator is needed. He can contribute to the introduction of laws aimed at integrating mental health in the primary care setting.
Crowley, R. A., & Kirschner, N. (2015). The integration of care for mental health, substance abuse, and other behavioral health conditions into primary care: Executive summary of an American college of physicians position paper. Annals of Internal Medicine, 163(4), 298-299. Web.
Press, M. J., Howe, R., Schoenbaum, M., Cavanaugh, S., Marshall, A., Baldwin, L., & Conway, P. H. (2017). Medicare payment for behavioral health integration. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(5), 405-407. Web.
The Florida Senate. (2018). Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez. Web.
The Rodriguez report. (2018). Web.