Monthly Archives December 2013

Mental Health Issues Gaining Legislative Momentum as We Move into 2014

Son Dick walks Mary back to her house.Excellence in Mental Health Act

It has been an active month in Washington, and there is much to celebrate. Legislation furthering government funding for better mental health care has been at the forefront. The Senate Finance Committee took steps toward reforming the funding of mental health care for Medicaid. The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) requires that:

  • Criteria be established for an organization to qualify as a Community Behavioral Health Center, and
  • Centers be reimbursed for Medicaid services on a reasonable cost per visit

This week during a committee hearing, Ms. Stabenow and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) proposed that an Excellence in Mental Health demonstration project be added to the Medicare bill. The National Council for Behavioral Health reported that senators from both sides of the aisle were in support of this amendment.

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Care for Your Mind’s 2013 Best Of List: Mental Health Policy Advancements

It’s that time of year again when the “Best Lists” come out. The mission at CFYM is to facilitate discussion by sharing the views of experts in the community. In that spirit, we are summarizing the “Ten Best” list from the National Institute of Mental Health to create our own “Five Best List.” We want to hear from you. Read the post and tell us what you believe are the best advances in policy and advocacy during 2013.

Mental Health Advocacy Begins with Science

Director Thomas Insel of the National Institute of Mental Health makes the argument that science leads to better policy. We are encouraged that scientific advances shift the conversation towards more self-directed treatment plans. It is the empowerment of treatment ownership that fosters advocacy and ultimately leads to a life of thriving, not just surviving.  We’ve compiled our top five list below, with the corresponding NIMH rank in parenthesis.

5. (10 on the NIMH List):  “Nobel Prize—This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (and Lasker Award) recognized NIMH grantee Thomas Südhof for his discoveries of how neurotransmitters are released from the pre-synaptic terminal.”

This research includes better understanding on how neurons in the brain communicate. We don’t know where the research will lead, but better knowledge about how molecules translate bio-chemical messages, give us reason to hope for advances in treatment options.

4. (9 on the NIMH List): “Beyond Magic Bullets—Several important new trends emerged this year in non-pharmacological treatments, sometimes from pharmaceutical companies. In April, a Nature commentary that included authors from the pharmaceutical giant GSK described “electroceuticals,” heralding a new era in treatment development focusing on devices to deliver electric signals rather than drugs to alter the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain.”

Many peers have reported successful outcomes with this type treatment. We are encouraged that pharmaceuticals are exploring options outside of strict pharmacology protocols.

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Your Signature Can Help Protect Mental Health Programs

Advocates are actively seeking grassroots support to protect funding for programs that advance mental health recovery and civil rights protection. Care for Your Mind is forwarding “Action Alerts” from two different organizations on two different mental health care topics. We also encourage you to contact your representatives directly.You can obtain contact information for your representatives by entering the zip code of the location where you reside into a search program.

ACTION ALERT 1NCMHR logo

Below is information from the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery  

SAMHSA grants for stat...

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Beware: Your Mental Health Condition Could Interfere with Your Holiday Travel Plans

airportDo you have loved ones arriving from another country expecting entry into the United States? If they have a documented mental illness, they might want to think twice. Read a summary of an article from the New York Times describing the discrimination people have faced from the United States Customs and Border Protection.

Shameful Profiling of the Mentally Ill by Andrew Solomon was published December 7, 2013 in the New York Times. It describes the mental health discrimination that citizens from other countries face when entering the United States. Sharing several examples, Mr...

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Celebrating the 10-Year Anniversary of the Creation of Medicare Part D

Mary GrealyGrealy Mary Headshot-web
Healthcare Leadership Council

Over the past few months, debate over our nation’s healthcare system has consumed much of the air here in Washington and around the country. The government shutdown over the President’s healthcare law, and the continuing missteps we are seeing with the implementation of the healthcare.gov website have catapulted the issue to the top of mind of many Americans. But regardless of the merits of the debate from either side, so much of the noise and rhetoric has been focused on what is wrong with our healthcare system that we often discard or overlook the elements and programs that are actually working.

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Will Medicare Cover Your Mental Health Care Needs?

old_happy_coupleAnnual enrollment for Medicare ends on December 7, 2013. There has been a lot written about the mental health parity final ruling and the ACA or Obamacare. It is important to note that these new regulations do not apply to Medicare. In order to maximize mental health care seniors, should look carefully at their supplemental policies.

To better help seniors navigate their options, we are reposting excerpts from several relevant posts from the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. (CMA) and providing links to this valuable information.

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