(Senate - January 15, 2020)

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[Pages S247-S248]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


      By Mr. REED (for himself and Mr. Kennedy):
  S. 3198. A bill to authorize a pilot program to expand and intensify 
surveillance of self-harm in partnership with State and local public 
health departments, to establish a grant program to provide self-harm 
and suicide prevention services in hospital emergency departments, and 
for other purposes; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, as we all know too well rates of suicide 
have risen to epidemic levels in the United States, with suicide now 
the 10th leading cause of death in the country. On average, there are 
129 suicides every day, roughly one every 11 minutes--a staggering 
statistic. That is why I am pleased to be introducing bipartisan, 
bicameral legislation to provide new resources to help turn the tide on 
this increasingly dire situation. I am joined in introducing the 
Suicide Prevention Act by Senator Kennedy, with Representatives Chris 
Stewart and Doris Matsui introducing companion legislation in the House 
of Representatives.
  This legislation would authorize new funding for the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, to partner with the State and 
local health departments to improve surveillance of suicide attempts 
and other incidences of self-harm. Current data collection efforts 
regarding suicide are often years after the fact, which limits the 
ability of State and local health departments, as well as community 
organizations, to recognize trends early and intervene. This new effort 
would enhance data collection and sharing, as appropriate, in real time 
to help save lives.
  Recognizing that emergency healthcare providers are at the frontlines 
of responding to suicide attempts, this bill would authorize funding 
for a grant program within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
Services Administration, SAMHSA, to fund suicide prevention programs in 
emergency departments, ED, to better train staff in suicide prevention 
strategies, screen at-risk patients, and refer patients to appropriate 
followup care. The legislation would also require SAMHSA to develop 
best practices for such programs, so that healthcare providers are able 
to provide their patients with the best possible care and advice. 
Approximately 37 percent of individuals without a previous history of 
mental health or substance abuse who die by suicide make an ED visit 
within the year before their death. According to the Suicide Prevention 
Resource Center, the risk of suicide is greatest within a month of 
discharge from the hospital.
  In 2017, 47,173 Americans lost their lives to suicide. That same 
year, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts. We must renew our 
efforts on suicide prevention. In 2004, working with my colleague 
Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, we authored the Garrett Lee Smith 
Memorial Act. This law authorized new youth suicide prevention programs 
in honor of Senator Smith's, son, who tragically died by suicide just a 
couple of weeks short of his 22nd birthday. For over a decade, these 
programs have funded college campus, State, and Tribal efforts to 
prevent suicide among our youth and young adult populations, who are 
particularly at risk of suicide. During this time, youth suicide rates 
have decreased significantly in my home State of Rhode Island, however, 
nationwide, suicide rates have skyrocketed over the last decade. That 
is why we must renew our attention and focus on suicide prevention, 
including by increasing funding for and access to the National Suicide 
Prevention Lifeline. This effort is critical to ensuring that when 
people in crisis call looking for help, someone will be there on the 
other end of the line to offer hope and counseling. I have also worked 
with my colleagues Senators Gardner, Baldwin, and Moran on legislation 
to designate the Lifeline as an easy to remember, 3-digit number, 9-8-
8. This common sense legislation would make it easier for people across 
the country to access the Lifeline when they really need it. I am glad 
the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, taking steps to make the 9-
8-8 number a reality, which makes increasing funding for the Lifeline 
all the more vital.
  I am pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Senator Kennedy 
once again by introducing the Suicide Prevention Act today. I look 
forward to working together with our other sponsors and colleagues, as 
well as stakeholders supporting these efforts, to pass this critical 

[[Page S248]]


      By Mr. THUNE (for himself, Mr. Carper, Mr. Cramer, Ms. Smith, Ms. 
        McSally, and Ms. Sinema):
  S. 3200. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit 
high deductible health plans to provide chronic disease prevention 
services to plan enrollees prior to satisfying their plan deductible; 
to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 3200

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Chronic Disease Management 
     Act of 2020''.


       (a) In General.--Section 223(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue 
     Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating subparagraph (D) as 
     subparagraph (E) and by inserting after subparagraph (C) the 
     following new subparagraph:
       ``(D) Preventive care services and items for chronic 
     conditions.--For purposes of subparagraph (C), preventive 
     care shall include any service or item used to treat an 
     individual with a chronic condition if--
       ``(i) such service or item is low-cost,
       ``(ii) in regards to such service or item, there is medical 
     evidence supporting high cost efficiency of preventing 
     exacerbation of the chronic condition or the development of a 
     secondary condition, and
       ``(iii) there is a strong likelihood, documented by 
     clinical evidence, that with respect to the class of 
     individuals utilizing such service or item, the specific 
     service or use of the item will prevent the exacerbation of 
     the chronic condition or the development of a secondary 
     condition that requires significantly higher cost 
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to coverage for months beginning after the date 
     of the enactment of this Act.