mental health advocacy tagged posts

Rx Choice: Last Chance to Be Heard Is Friday!

Susan Weinstein, JD
Editor in Chief, Care for Your Mind

This Friday, January 25, 2019, is the deadline for submitting your comments to help preserve access to the spectrum of drugs for treating health conditions like depression, schizophrenia, cancer, HIV, and epilepsy and supporting organ transplants for people on Medicare.

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Break Down the Silos, Work Together for Change

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Helen Keller

The mental health care system is notoriously divided into silos of narrow interests. Not only is mental health seen as distinct from physical health, and distinct from substance use disorders, but there is little collaboration – or even conversation – between and among people living with mental health conditions and their families, mental health care providers, professional associations, advocacy organizations, researchers, community health centers, hospital systems, and so on. This division works against our ability to effectively and collectively advocate for improvements to the mental health care system.

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It Doesn’t Add Up

Walker_St LouisNamiDar Walker
Executive Director of NAMI St. Louis

For nine years, Medicare beneficiaries have had access to the antidepressants and antipsychotics that work best for them. Now, a proposed change threatens to revoke that access. The resulting effect will be devastating for individuals with mental illness and their families, and costly to society at large.

It Doesn’t Add Up

Back in 2005, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, it ensured patients would have unrestricted access to life-saving medicine by granting “protected-class” status to six drug categories, including antidepressants and antipsychotics.

In granting antidepressants and antipsychotics protected-class status, CMS acknowledged that these drugs are chemically distinct and not interchangeable, and patients must have access to the full category of drugs in order to appropriately manage their Illness. In 2010, the unique nature of mental health drugs was reaffirmed when the Affordable Care Act specified that the six protected classes should remain protected.

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Speaking Up For the Silent Majority

Scott-ArbaughDr. Scott Arbaugh
Faculty Member Washington University
Director, Geriatric Day Treatment Programs
Alton Memorial Hospital (Alton, IL), St. Joseph’s Hospital (Highland, IL) and St. Joseph’s Hospital (Breese, IL)

Speaking Up For the Silent Majority
How the proposed changes to Medicare Part D will harm middle-class seniors

As a geriatric psychiatrist in private practice, I see many middle-class patients. These are folks who have worked hard their whole lives and saved for their retirement; their homes and cars are paid for and they have a few dollars in the bank. Medicare covers the bulk of their healthcare expenses and many can afford some level of supplemental coverage.

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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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