Category Mental Health Reform

Medicare and Social Security Update:
What You Need to Know for 2016

Medicare beneficiaries received some good news during the recent federal budget negotiations. Due to the fact that there is no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2016, coupled with an increase in Medicare Part B premiums, 2016 monthly Social Security payments would have been smaller in 2016. But a last minute budget deal prevented that calamity. The budget that passed and was signed by President Obama did not include any Social Security (COLA) increases, but it did remove or delay the Medicare Part B premium increases for the majority of seniors. The net result: most seniors will not see a decrease in their monthly payments.

Additionally, Americans receiving Social Security Disability payments were spared a potential 20 percent decrease for 2016 due to a long-standing deficit in the fund. That’s because, of the 12.4 percent combined employee and employer contribution to the Social Security trust funds only 1.8 percent is allocated to the disability fund. Congress alleviated some of the burden by increasing this contribution to 2.37 percent over the next three years, giving Congress time to come up with a long-term solution.

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It’s That Time of Year! Tips for Choosing a Health Insurance Plan

Recently CFYM sat down with DBSA Texas Grassroots Organization (“GO”) Chair Kimberly Allen to discuss the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Allen is a former insurance broker who has advised individuals living with a mental health condition and their families on matters pertaining to health insurance. In this informative interview, Ms. Allen shares tips on how to find the ACA policy that best fits your circumstances. Additionally, we’d like your feedback on High Deductible Insurance Plans. 

Care for Your Mind: It’s been three years now since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What effect has it had on individuals living with a mental health condition and their families?

Kimberly Allen: People now have a lot more access to mental health services. For starters, no one can be denied insurance coverage based on preexisting conditions and plans cannot charge more based on medical history or current health care needs.

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Patient-Centered Outcomes Pave the Road to Wellness

A suicide attempt during her junior year in college brought Jennifer back home to live with her parents where she chose to participate in a mood disorder partial hospitalization program (PHP). Her treatment plan included group therapy and peer support services at the PHP and appointments with a psychiatrist. Through this coordinated mental health care, she and her support team accepted a bipolar II disorder diagnosis. Jennifer identified to her care team that her end-goal was to return to the university she had left and graduate.

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Through the Eyes of the Patient

mood network

Roberta Tovey
Director of Communications, MoodNetwork

The concept of patient-centered care is not, on the face of it, a very complicated one. Nor is it new: developed in the 1980s, and based on the famous psychiatrist Carl Rogers’ humanistic approach to psychotherapy in the 1950s and ’60s, it has been widely promulgated in modern healthcare theory and has been the credo of family practice medicine for decades. Nevertheless, patient-centered care has turned out to be harder to implement than to describe, and is still not incorporated into most medical practices. This is especially true of the area of mental health.

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Help Ensure Mental Health Services for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

Part 1 of the series on the special mental health needs of victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) explained the relationship between IPV, depression, and an increased risk of suicide. In Part 2 CFYM provides actionable steps readers can take to address the disparity of services.

Robin Axelrod Sabag, LCSW, MFT
Jewish Family & Children’s Service

Even women in abusive relationships who do not have a pre-existing mental health issue may find it difficult to leave the relationship...

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Intimate Partner Violence Presents Special Mental Health Concerns

Research reveals there is a strong relationship between being a victim of intimate partner violence (IPV) – defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm and depressive disorders. This research conducted as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 showed that experiencing IPV nearly doubled a woman’s risk for subsequently reporting symptoms of depression. More alarming women reporting IPV incident depression were at a higher risk for attempted suicides. In a two-part series, CFYM examines IPV and provides recommendations for self and legislative advocacy.

Robin Axelrod Sabag, LCS...

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Live! How to Fix Our Mental Health Care System

Allen Doederlein
President, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

On this Thursday, February 26, I’m excited to participate as a panel member in a mental health policy briefing, Fixing America’s Mental Healthcare System, in Washington, DC, hosted by The Hill. At this important event, we’ll discuss how our nation’s broken system impacts those with a mental health condition, their families, workplaces, and broader communities. We’ll also discuss potential solutions to this crisis. I will be sharing my views as both a patient as well as a representative of all of our DBSA members and families.

Attend the event
For those in DC, register to attend the event! If you can’t be there in person, watch the livestream starting at 8:30 AM EST on Thursday, February 26.

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Tragic California Case Exposes Failings in Our Mental Health Care System

Rusty Selix
Executive Director, Legislative Advocate
California Council of Community Mental Health

In April 2012, Fred Paroutaud, a California man with no history of mental illness, experienced a psychotic episode. Mr. Paroutaud was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Just 72 hours after he was admitted, and despite the fact that he was still experiencing hallucinations, he was discharged and referred to outpatient group therapy. Because his condition remained unstable he requested alternate therapy and one-on-one sessions with a psychiatrist. He was denied both by his health plan and his condition deteriorated.

Concerned by his worsening depression, his wife appealed to the health plan again and again. She pleaded that her husband required more supervised and personalized treatment. While waiting for an appointment with his psychiatrist, and just two months after his first psychosis, he died by suicide.

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