The wife of murdered Aplington-Parkersburg High School football coach Ed Thomas, will testify before a House subcommittee Friday. Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, invited Jan Thomas to testify.
“And the hearing will examine the very important relationship between our mental health care system and gun violence,” Braley says. The hearing focuses specifically on the law known as HIPPA, which governs the types of health information health care providers can release on patients.
Ed Thomas was shot to death in 2009 by a former player who suffered from mental illness and had been released from the hospital less than 24 hours before he shot Thomas. “I think we owe it to Ed Thomas and his family to seriously and comprehensively look at needed medical health reforms and criminal background checks. Both of those steps may have save Ed Thomas’ life and Jan Thomas is coming to testify so that we can bring a real world example of how these issues relate to one another, and why it’s a critical par of our ongoing efforts to reduce gun violence,” according to Braley.
He says mental health patients are often shuffled around in the legal system and never get the treatment they need. “And I think it’s time for a broader national conversation about our failure to address these problems, because many of these people are people that we don’t like to think about, we would rather push them off of our radar screen and let others worry about them,” Braley says.
“And often times it is our law enforcement officials and jailers who have to deal with them, and that is not the appropriate place to treat their problem.” Jan Thomas, will testify Friday in the hearing before a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The hearing is set to begin at 8 A.M. Iowa time.