Stories of Interest

 

Institutionalized: Mental Health Behind Bars
VICE News
Published on Apr 7, 2015
America’s relationship with its mentally ill population continues to suffer as a result of inadequacies in the country’s mental health care system. A look at Cook County Jail in Chicago where of 9,000 inmates, 30% have a mental illness.

July 7, 2014
Stressed Out: Americans Tell Us About Stress In Their Lives
By Scott Hensley and Alyson Hurt via NPR.org


Feb. 12, 2014
The Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee held the annual budget hearing for mental hygiene. The general pattern is that OMH, OPWDD and OASAS leadership testify. After each of the agencies testifies, there are a series of questions from legislators. After the testimony of the three agencies is completed, it is followed by testimony from stakeholders in the various communities.

In MHANYS attached testimony, we broke down our comments into three areas—1) Budget Specific Issues, 2) Mental Health Literacy and 3) Juvenile Justice and Youth in Transition


Dec. 2013
Medicare Outpatient Mental Health Parity Began January 1: As of January 1, Medicare is required to pay the same amount for mental health care treatment as it does for most medical services. In 2008, Congress enacted the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), which required a phase-out of the mental health treatment limitation over a five-year period from 2010 to 2014. Under the law, beneficiaries will now pay 20 percent for outpatient mental health services, the same percentage as other forms of outpatient services. via The New York Times (12/27/13)


Dec. 30, 2013
Mental Health Peer Specialists Report Their Work is Beneficial to Them.


Jan. 17, 2014
Mental Health Programs See Increases in FY 2014 Funding; $1.012 Trillion Package Provides Relief from Sequestration
via Mental Health America

A 2014 Fiscal Year spending bill crafted by Congressional appropriators provides important increases for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “Given the sustained national dialogue on mental health issues, it is encouraging that the bill includes a significant 13 percent increase in funding for mental health services and supports,” said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. The bill, which funds the government through the end of September, includes all 12 of the individual annual spending bills packaged into one $1.012 trillion “omnibus” spending bill. It includes all government discretionary spending outside of what it is mandated for entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

The House overwhelming approved the bill on Wednesday by a vote of 359-67, and the Senate passed the bill on Thursday by a vote of 72-26, sending it to President Obama for his signature. The bill provides relief from across the board spending cuts that were implemented under sequestration and details funding levels for government programs under a budget agreement reached in December by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The budget plan increases spending to $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 in 2015—up from the $967 billion required by the across-the-board sequester cuts. It provides for about $63 billion in sequester relief, divided equally among defense and non-defense programs.

Mental Health America worked with its coalition partners, primarily through the Coalition for Health Funding and NDD United, to influence the budget negotiations. “Mental Health America is encouraged by the increase in funding to programs that improve the well-being of all Americans, especially those with mental health and substance use conditions,” Dr. Shern said. The legislation includes $1.1 billion for mental health programs, which is $136 million more than the 2013 enacted level, whereas overall funding for SAMHSA will be set at $3.63 billion. The spending plan provides the first meaningful increase in funding for the Center for Mental Health Services in over a decade. With respect to the National Institutes of Health, NIMH will receive $1.45 billion, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will receive $1.03 billion, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism will receive $430 million. The bill provides $1 billion for the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Of that amount, $831 million is available to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $62 million to SAMHSA, with $35 million directed elsewhere at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Programmatic Funding Level Highlights—CMHS

  •  $40M for Project AWARE state grants (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education, Now is the Time)
  • $15M for Mental Health First Aid (Now is the Time)
  • $20M for Healthy Transitions (Now is the Time)
  • $50M for PBHCI – Primary and Behavioral Health Integration
  • $49M for Suicide Prevention Activities
  • $46M for National Child Traumatic Stress
  • $35M for Project LAUNCH
  • $2M for National Strategy for Suicide Prevention from Prevention Fund
  • $5M for Tribal Behavioral Health Grants
  • $8.1M for Minority Fellowship Program (CMHS only)
  • $35M for Behavioral Health Workforce
  • $2.0M for the Consumer & Consumer Support T.A. Centers
  • $5.0M for the Consumer and Family Network Grants

Although the spending plan provides relief from sequestration in FY2014, last year’s sequestration and other persistent funding cuts have directly impacted programs and services (in many cases to Bush era funding levels). To help set spending priorities and argue for increases for the next fiscal year, Mental Health America is requesting information on the impact of sequestration – such as the capacity to serve clients and fill positions – in your community or state.


SAMHSA Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Toolkit: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released a training resource toolkit, developed through the Enrollment Coalitions Initiative, entitled “Getting Ready for the Health Insurance Marketplace.” The toolkit will assist organizations with outreach, education and enrollment of individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplace. It is composed of three sections: A description of the health care law, how it works, and why it is important for uninsured individuals with behavioral health conditions; An explanation of how the Health Insurance Marketplace works, how to apply for health coverage and where to get help; and Numerous communication ideas and materials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that can be used to raise awareness and encourage uninsured individuals to enroll.