President-Elect Obama says he will examine the federal budget line by line to reduce waste and inefficiency. As part of that process, I hope someone in his administration seriously considers realigning the federal government’s agencies related to behavioral healthcare.
I've written about this before, and now seems like a good time to bring this idea up again.
Do we really need separate national institutes of mental health, addiction, and alcoholism, especially as we learn how prevalent co-occurring disorders are? Would we be able to close the science-to-service gap if we folded SAMHSA's grant-making authority into one behavioral health research institute? Couldn't ONDCP and CSAT better coordinate their prevention messages?
Most importantly, could the federal government do more for citizens with mental health and substance use problems at current funding levels (we're not likely to see more in this economy) by streamlining operations?
I hope someone in D.C. is thinking about these questions.