CMS, Rescind Your Policy to Restrict Access to Mental Health Care: Our Voices are Being Heard

LarryDrainToday’s CFYM post is all about sharing your personal story. Learn how three DBSA peers traveling to Washington will share your comments from the past two weeks with Congressional Representatives. Read what affect another peer thinks the proposed CMS regulation to restrict access to quality mental health care would have had on his recovery.

For the past two weeks, CFYM has informed our readers on the misguided decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to restrict access to quality mental health care. Over the past several weeks since the CMS announced a proposal to eliminate antidepressant and immunosuppressant medications from protected class status, many citizens have taken up the call to make their voices heard. As a result, last week the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to Marilyn Tavenner, CMS Administrator asking that the regulation be rescinded. All 24 members of the Finance Committee signed the letter. Reporting on the action, BioCentury reported that the letter states “If beneficiaries do not have access to needed medications, costs will be incurred as a result of unnecessary and avoidable hospitalizations, physician visits, and other medical interventions that are otherwise preventable with proper adherence to medication,”

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Why I’m Speaking Out Against the Proposed Medicare Part D Change — And Why You Should, Too

CalabereseJoseph R. Calabrese, M.D.
Director, Mood Disorders Program, University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Bipolar Disorder Research Chair & Professor of Psychiatry, CWRU School of Medicine
Dir., Bipolar Disorders Research Center

This week we are pleased to post the expert opinion of Joseph Calabrese, M.D. on the serious consequences of the proposed regulation to limit access to antidepressant, immunosuppressant and antipsychotic medications for recipients of Medicare Part D. Read the post and take action by participating in the conversation. This enables all of us to share these collective stories with our elected officials through e-mails, letters and in-person visits.

Why I’m Speaking Out Against the Proposed Medicare Part D Change —
And Why You Should, Too

Last month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that would initiate major changes to prescription drug plans under Medicare Part D. These changes would severely limit access to medications that are commonly used to treat serious mental illness and create serious challenges for people who have these mental health disorders.

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Join Us in the Fight to Save Access to Mental Health Treatment: Act Now by Telling Congress You Care!

elderly_handsThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to significantly limit access to antidepressant and immunosupressant medication for people subscribing to Medicare Part D. Read today’s post to learn why you should be concerned, and what you can do to support the mental health community by raising our voices in Washington.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule that would remove antidepressants and immunosupressants from the protected class status under Medicare Part D and is considering removing antipsychotics from the same status the following year. If CMS adopts its proposal, it would reduce patient access to and the availability of mental health treatment.

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How Will You Make Your Voice Heard in 2014?

bottleIn recent posts, guest editors, CFYM editors and our readers have shared their ideas about the status of access to quality mental health care in 2014. Will it be a year we look back on as a turning point in the fight for civil rights for people living with mood disorders?  Or will it will be a year that we give back some hard earned gains.

In recent posts, guest editors, CFYM editors and our readers have shared their ideas about the status of access to quality mental health care in 2014. Will it be a year we look back on as a turning point in the fight for civil rights for people living with mood disorders?  Or will it will be a year that we give back some hard earned gains.

There is much to be to keep our eye on in the coming year. During the winding days of Congress, before the holiday recess, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 3717 was introduced. Many advocacy groups voiced their thoughts on this bill including Mental Health AmericaNational Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Council for Behavioral Health, to name a few.

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What Does 2014 Have in Store for Mental Health Funding and Access?

ChuckIngogliaCharles Ingoglia
Senior Vice President, Public Policy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into January, 2014 is shaping up to be another important year for mental health policy. In today’s CFYM post, Charles Ingoglia, MSW, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, National Council for Behavioral Healthcare shares why he is optimistic about advancement of mental health policy issues in 2014.

Last week, we asked for your input about the most pressing mental health issues for the year ahead. So, there’s certainly plenty to talk about. Share your thoughts on whether or not you are optimistic about mental health advancements or if you think there is still much work to be done by commenting in today’s post.

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What’s the Most Neglected Topic of 2014?

In his Sunday column of the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof offers his suggestions for the “Most Neglected Topic” of 2014. There is certainly a lot to choose from: political battles that shut down the government, ongoing war in the Middle East, lack of functionality of the ACA website.

In the opinion of Kristof, however, we aren’t paying enough attention to mental health issues in this country. And he shares similar views to comments I observed in Tuesday’s CFYM post. Both Kristof and commenters suggested that the media bears some responsibility for the problem...

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Yes, It is OK2Talk About Your Mental Health Condition

Sen_Smith_hi In today’s CFYM post Gordon H. Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and former U.S. Senator from Oregon (1997 to 2009) informs our readers about the innovative OK2Tallk campaign aimed at young adults. This program provides broadcasters with PSA’s to air on their network and features young adults as role models to support peers living with a mental health condition.

Yes, It is OK2Talk About Your Mental Health Condition

How are you doing?” This simple question is one of our most often used phrases, but rarely do we listen to the answer.

It’s our nature to say “fine, thanks” and go on with our day. You rarely – if ever – hear someone say “not well, I’m having a really tough time and would like to talk about it.”

But We Should

One in four Americans will experience a mental health condition this year. That’s more than 78 million people – or a few million more than the populations of California, Texas and Pennsylvania combined. Mental illness doesn’t care if you are tall, short, rich or poor. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.

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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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