The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy Joins Healthsperien to Establish New Mental Health and Addiction Policy Practice

Former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy has been named as a Partner with the firm and will establish and lead a new national mental health and addiction policy practice. Rep. Kennedy will bring his decades of national leadership, advocacy, and expertise in mental health to advise a diverse array of clients, focusing on mental health and addiction, community-based services and supports, and the need for health system transformation.

Kennedy served with distinction for eight terms (1995-2011), representing Rhode Island’s first congressional district. In Congress, Kennedy was recognized for his leadership in establishing high-quality mental and behavioral health standards in the United States. Kennedy now brings his wealth of expertise to Healthsperien, where he will advance federal health policy to ensure quality care for those with mental health and addiction disorders.

During his 16-year tenure in the United States House of Representatives, Rep. Kennedy championed policies aimed at ending discrimination against those suffering from mental illness, addiction, and other brain-related disorders. Notably, he served as the lead sponsor of the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which ensures equitable insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders. Since its passage, Rep. Kennedy has successfully ensured proper oversight of implementation and enforcement of the Act so that more Americans can access the mental health and substance use disorder care they need.

Representative Kennedy will provide guidance on policy development, strategic advice, and lobbying to clients—including patient groups, providers, employers, innovator companies, payors, and more—to advance innovative approaches and improve access to high-quality, affordable mental health and addiction care for individuals and their caregivers in the United States. Issues to be addressed include:

  • Advocating for Mental Health Parity “2.0” and Access to Care
  • Advancing Innovative Payment Reforms
  • Aligning Health Information Technology
  • Supporting the creation of a comprehensive Workforce Pipeline for Mental Health & Substance Use Disease

In 2017, Rep. Kennedy was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, where he played a pivotal role in declaring a federal emergency and championing robust parity recommendations. Beyond his legislative accomplishments, Rep. Kennedy demonstrated his commitment to advancing mental health and addiction initiatives by founding The Kennedy Forum, a non-profit dedicated to promoting evidence-based practices, policies, and programming.

His influence extends further through, an educational campaign empowering both consumers and providers to comprehend parity rights. Additionally, he co-founded One Mind, an organization advocating for increased global investment in brain research. Rep. Kennedy’s multifaceted contributions underscore his unwavering dedication to improving mental health and shaping pragmatic health care policies.

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