Former Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad has agreed to be a policy consultant for Hazelden, a Minnesota-based organization that has addiction treatment centers in several states.
Ramstad, who served in the U.S. House until last year, will be a senior policy adviser on issues related to addiction, treatment and recovery. Hazelden officials said his work will focus on health care reform and a new law expanding access to addiction and mental health treatment through private insurance.
"Congressman Ramstad has been a tireless advocate for addicted people, their families and communities," said William Moyers, vice president for foundation relations at Hazelden, which is based in Center City. "We welcome Jim's expertise and his personal passion."
Ramstad, a recovering alcoholic, worked in Congress to pass mental health parity legislation to require insurance companies to treat addiction and mental health issues equally with physical illnesses.
He said in a statement that "there is still a long way to go to convince our elected officials that addiction to alcohol or other drugs is America's number one health problem."