What We're Reading: Lawmakers Move to Overhaul Mental Health System

What we're reading, July 7, 2016: the House passed legislation to overhaul mental health care; the NFL is accused of being quick to hand out powerful painkillers; and one student outlines 5 ways to reform medical schools.

Lawmakers are tackling federal policies on serious mental illness. According to The Wall Street Journal, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that would reorganize the federal agency overseeing mental health policy, change Medicaid reimbursements, and fund efforts to combat serious mental illness. The Congressional Budget Office has said the bill would actually reduce spending on the Medicaid program by $5 million over 10 years.

The NFL has been handing out opioids to players “like candy,” according to the newly retired Calvin Johnson. Team medical staffs were quick to hand out powerful painkillers, like Vicodin, so that players who were dependent on the pills could easily get access, reported The Washington Post. More than 1500 former NFL players have filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, alleging that doctors and trainers distributed painkillers without examinations and misled players about the side effects of these drugs.

In an opinion piece for STAT, a student in Stanford University’s MD/MBA program outlined 5 ways medical schools should evolve to better prepare physicians. Among the suggestions are teaching skills, not just facts. Too much emphasis on scientific information is leaving physicians unprepared, especially when those facts they learned quickly become outdated. Another suggested change is to promote more than just academic research. With the role of physicians evolving, they are now also playing a part in management and policy ventures.