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You Did It! CMS Rescinds Proposed Protected Classes Rule!

Over the past two months, Care for Your Mind has closely followed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed ruling around Medicare Part D’s six protected classes. Thanks in large part to the combination of the mental health community’s expert and peer perspectives as well as your insightful comments and willingness to take action to oppose this rule, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced yesterday that the agency would not move forward to remove antidepressants and immunosuppresants from Medicare Part D’s six protected classes at this time.

Yesterday’s decis...

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Why Aren’t Those Who Need Mental Health Care Able to Receive it When Needed Most?

stockvault-locked99163Over and over again we hear of tragedies that might have been averted if only people had access to quality mental health care.  The Daily Beast does an excellent job of covering the latest such tragedy involving Gus Deeds stabbing his father, Virginia politician Creigh Deeds.  According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch Gus Deeds did receive a psychiatric evaluation on Monday, the day before the stabbing, but was release due to lack of a psychiatric bed across the entire western Virginia region.

In Tennessee the department of mental health is evaluating their budget for the next several years...

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Can Erasing Stigma Lead to Earlier Acceptance of Treatment?

Today, on National Depression Screening Day, CFYM reader, Steve, shares his story of emerging from depression onto a new life path of mental health advocacy. Erasing the social stigma of depressive disorders, he believes, will pave the way to earlier use of depression screenings and encourage people to seek and accept treatment.

After a distinguished career in the Navy, I was proud to join the public sector utilizing the immeasurable discipline and knowledge I had acquired serving in our country’s military. I enrolled in a rigorous doctor of education program at Vanderbilt University with an emphasis in Human Resource Development. I was well on the way to establishing a name for myself as an independent management consultant, focusing on organizational development, prospective employee screening, and middle-management development.

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Poll Results Enforces the Need for Specialized Care

aapgChristine M. deVries
Chief Executive Officer
American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

Care for Your Mind is an excellent example of providing needed information to the public on late life mental illness. AAGP applauds the efforts of Care for Your Mind and its efforts on public education as well as encouraging dialogue through polls and other mechanisms on these critical issues.

The results of the recent poll by Care for Your Mind on mood disorders clearly confirms the need for a well-trained health care workforce to take care of the current and future generations of older adults with mood disorders. This same conclusion was reported by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in their report released last year entitled, The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands? The IOM called for immediate action to promote research and incentivize training in geriatric mental health to adequately meet the needs of an elderly population expected to rise above 70 million people by 2030. We know the need is there, but now it is time to take action. It is critical that people contact their policymakers and urge them to eliminate the gaps in services to the elderly with mental illness including mood disorders by increasing access to quality mental health care and addressing the prevalent stigma associated with these diseases. The White House took a first step when they convened a National Conference on Mental Health in June of this year, but there needs to be more. We must now advocate to the US Congress on the need for a well prepared workforce to provide quality care for the older adults with mood disorders. Following are some specific legislative proposals that have been introduced in this session of Congress:

The Care for Your Mind poll enforces the need for health care professionals with specialized training to treat those individuals with mood disorders and other late life mental illnesses. There is a bill that has been introduced into the Senate that would promote teams of health care providers with this expertise to work with primary care providers.

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Does your community have mental health needs?

The Network for Public Health Law outlines a unique opportunity for consumers, families, and advocates to bring attention to local mental health needs. Every nonprofit hospital is required to participate. Chances are there’s a nonprofit hospital—and a chance to be involved—near you!

Identify and Address Mental Health Needs in Your Community


Corey Davis & Andy Baker-White
Network for Public Health Law

networkThe majority of American hospitals are recognized as nonprofit organizations under state and federal law. This permits them to receive a number of financial benefits, including an exemption from the federal income tax. Many states and municipalities also provide nonprofit hospitals with exemptions from property, sales, and other taxes. This favorable tax treatment comes with the responsibility that these hospitals provide certain benefits to the communities they serve.

Community Health Needs Assessment

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a provision that requires each nonprofit hospital to conduct an assessment of the health needs of its community in order to better understand and help meet those needs. This assessment, known as a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) must be conducted every three years and made widely available to the public. Groups and individuals working in, or advocating for, mental health may take advantage of the CHNA to collaborate with hospitals to help determine whether mental health is a health need for the community.

When conducting the CHNA, the nonprofit hospital is required to collect input from people who “represent the broad interests of the community served” by each hospital facility. Under proposed IRS rules, the hospital must take into account input from the following sources, among others:

  • at least one state, local, tribal, or regional governmental public health department with knowledge, information, or expertise relevant to the health needs of that community;
  • members of medically underserved, low-income, and minority populations in the community, or individuals or organizations serving or representing the interests of such populations; and
  • written comments received on the hospital facility’s most recently conducted CHNA and most recently adopted implementation strategy.

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Will integrated care provide you with better care?

Laura Galbreath, M.P.P., Director
SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions, National Council for Behavioral Health

galbreathWalk into a community behavioral health or health center right now and you’ll probably see posters about this great new health care approach called integration. What is integration, though? And what does it look like?

As our health care system strives to improve patient health outcomes, improve the quality of care, and make care affordable, a collective light bulb has gone off. To achieve these three aims—known by the phrase “the triple aim”—we have to recognize and treat people’s physical and emotional health, and that means changing how we deliver care. Integration is one approach receiving a lot of attention for its promise to achieve these aims.

When my friends and family ask what integration is, I explain it like this: Integration improves access to mental health and addictions treatment by making that care a routine part of a visit to primary care, whether at the lowest level of integration (improved communication among providers) or the highest (a merged practice that includes both medical and mental health services). Integration also improves the quality of recovery by addressing the physical health care needs of people with mental illnesses and addictions.

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Five Issues Related to Minority Mental Health

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives recognized the need to bring attention to issues around mental health awareness among, and mental health care for, the nation’s minority communities. To further those issues, the House passed a resolution in support of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (with the open enrollment period beginning on October 1, 2013) should help address one of the issues outlined in the resolution: the fact that many minority mental health consumers are underinsured or uninsured, and thus receive a diagnosis late in their illness, if at all.

But what about the other issues?

Top 5 Issues Related to Minority Mental Health

Here are Care for Your Mind’s top 5 issues related to minority mental health awareness that remain to be addressed. (All quotes are from the text of the resolution.)

  1. Disproportionate access to services:“adult Caucasians who suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder are more likely to receive treatment than adult African Americans with the same disorders even though the disorders occur in both groups at about the same rate, when taking into account socioeconomic factors”

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What’s standing in the way of mental health recovery?

Paolo del Vecchio, M.S.W.
Director, Center for Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Yesterday, Paolo del Vecchio told his personal recovery story and shared a set of elements that help define recovery. Today, he puts recovery into perspective with health reform.

Opportunities for Recovery under the ACAdelvecchio

To recover, individuals need access to quality, affordable health care and mental health services. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections to an estimated 62 million Americans and heralds a new era of hope for people with mental illnesses.

Beginning January 1, 2014, millions of uninsured Americans with mental health and substance use conditions will have access to health insurance coverage, many for the first time. In addition, thanks to the new health care law, beginning in 2014, insurers will no longer be able to deny anyone coverage because of a pre-existing mental health condition. Individuals will be able to sign up and enroll for insurance beginning in October of this year. People should go to to find info on how to enroll.

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