MHA News From National: November 5, 2015 | Mental Health America

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MHA News From National: November 5, 2015

In this update:

  • Mental Health Reform Legislation Moves Forward
  • MHA Webinars
  • What We Are Reading
  • Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?
  • Did You Know?
  • Affiliate News and Updates

Mental Health Reform Legislation Moves Forward!

Yesterday, a major milestone was reached when the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646) went to markup and was amended—and improved—based on months of advocacy work on behalf of MHA and all of you. Representatives Timothy Murphy (PA-18) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) introduced a manager’s amendment to their legislation, which brought significant and positive revisions to the bill. The amended legislation passed late last night with an 18-12 vote in the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Health Subcommittee, and will now move on to the full Committee for consideration. You can read more about the changes and MHA’s comments here.

As we move forward in the legislative process, MHA will continue to talk with the sponsors and proponents of mental health reform legislation, as well as leaders of other advocacy organizations, and agencies and individuals affected by the proposals.  What we're hearing strongly and carrying to members of Congress is that it is time for investment in earlier identification and intervention, time to integrate health and behavioral health care and remove barriers to services integration, time to make it possible for peers to be reimbursed by insurers when they work on clinical care teams, time to promote innovation, and time to strengthen the lead federal agency dealing with mental health.

We're continuing our efforts to improve all the proposals under consideration, especially with respect to peer support, protection for rights to and choices in treatment and broad-based supports, elevation of the position of mental health in the federal bureaucracy, and person-centered approaches to record-sharing. While MHA has not formally endorsed any bill, we continue to commend the sponsors in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle for their willingness to listen to us and others who are willing to talk to them, and to hear what we're saying, in spite of so much background noise. There's still time to talk to your legislators and ask them to support these positions!

MHA Webinars

IMD Exclusion: Its History, Effects, and Future Policy Implications
Tuesday, November 10th at 2:00 p.m. EST

Join MHA’s Regional Policy Council for a webinar examining the IMD (Institutions for Mental Diseases) Exclusion. The IMD Exclusion restricts federal Medicaid financing for patients in large institutions treating mental health and substance use conditions. This webinar will address the history of the IMD Exclusion, rationale from mental health and substance use advocates looking to either maintain or waive portions of the Exclusion, what’s going on at the federal level, and policy implications.

Register here:

A Peer Driven Solution to Isolation and Social Exclusion: Part III
Tuesday, November 17th at 2:00 p.m. EST

“A Peer Driven Solution to Isolation and Social Exclusion: Part III” is the third of three training webinars on MHA’s highly innovative and successful It’s My Life: Social Self Directed Care program. Please join us for this free training webinar at 2:00 p.m. EST on November 17 to learn more about how to implement this remarkable intervention that promotes social connectivity. In a two-year pilot demonstration, our peer Life Coaches worked with individuals who are among the most misunderstood and isolated members of society and successfully assisted them in becoming participating members of their communities. Webinar participants will learn more about the philosophy behind the program, the importance of the peer connection, relationship building, activities with participants, social navigating & connecting, being a friend in a peer support relationship, transitioning to independence, the use of all forms and program materials, and where the individuals who participated in the pilot are today.

Register here:

Medicaid Redesign and Expansion: Can We Have One Without the Other?
Monday, November 16th at 2:00 p.m. EST

With the Supreme Court’s ruling on Affordable Care Act came the option for states to expand their Medicaid programs. To date, 31 states, including the District of Columbia, have chosen to expand Medicaid and receive federal funding for the program at 100% for 2014-2016, and gradually decrease to 90% by 2020. Twenty remaining states have not chosen to expand Medicaid. In either case, it seems that our work is not done. Even among the 31 states/DC that have expanded Medicaid, the process for expansion and decisions to redesign their Medicaid delivery system vary. Moreover, among the 20 states that have not expanded, some state legislatures and governors have indicated that Medicaid first needs a redesign or reform before expansion can take place. What, then, is the best prescription for Medicaid: Redesign and expansion, or one without the other?

Please join us for a free webinar, hosted by the MHA Regional Policy Council, which will provide information about various states’ experiences with Medicaid expansion and/or redesign. We will also explore the different options states have employed to best serve their Medicaid recipients. 

Register here:

What We’re Reading

Washington Times: The Time is Now for Mental Health Reform (Op-Ed cosigned by Paul Gionfriddo)
Washington Post: Editorial Board—Movement on Mental Health Care
New York Times: Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds
Politico: Could America Elect a Mentally Ill President?
NPR: Thousands Of Soldiers With Mental Health Disorders Kicked Out For 'Misconduct'

Where in the World is Paul Gionfriddo?

When Paul hasn’t been on Capitol Hill demanding action on mental health care reform, he has been traveling around the country visiting affiliates and others. Last week he joined MHA Central Virginia at its annual dinner, and this week welcomed leadership and staff from the Canadian Mental Health Association to MHA headquarters in Alexandria. Last night he arrived in Annapolis, Md. for MHA of Maryland’s Centennial Conference, Brain Futures 2015. Today he will speak on a panel there entitled A Conversation with Our National Partners.

He is then on the road to New Orleans next week to give a presentation to the National Dialogues on Mental Health Conference and to Danbury, Conn. to deliver the keynote at the Ability Beyond Annual Breakfast. After that, he will be in Hartford, Conn. to speak to the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits, in Staunton, Va. on November 19 with MHA of Augusta for their 61st Annual Dinner Meeting and Silent Auction, and then back in Washington, DC to address the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health Annual Conference on the 20th.

Did You Know?

  • MHA was one of many exhibitors at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Chicago this week, where we were the only organization addressing mental health. Our staff had a blast sharing our #B4Stage4 message with conference participants and were proud and excited to receive second place for the best booth!
  • MHA now has a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator!

Affiliate News and Updates

  • Former MHA Board Member Karl Wilson has been appointed by Governor Jay Dixon to the Missouri Mental Health Commission. The commission appoints the director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health and assists the director in establishing, maintaining and reviewing plans, practices, rules and regulations, facilities, programs and services operated, funded or licensed by the Department. Dr. Wilson is a clinical psychologist who retired in 2012 after 33 years as President and CEO of Crider Health Center, a safety net community health and mental health center serving Franklin, Lincoln, St. Charles and Warren counties. Dr. Wilson also taught at Washington University for 38 years. In addition to the national Board of MHA, he has also served on the founding Board of Missouri Health Connection. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending June 28, 2018. Congratulations Karl!

  • Tom Starling, EdD, CEO of Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, was one of three finalists for the Bank of America CEO of the Year award. The award was presented on October 22 at the Omni Hotel with over 1,000 attending the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Salute to Excellence.  “Although I did not win the award, it was an honor to be nominated, and I’m so happy it helped to bring awareness to mental health,” said Starling, who received $1,000 as runner-up.  Nationally, the Salute to Excellence is the largest awards ceremony of its kind for recognizing outstanding nonprofit leadership.  Thirteen awards and over $279,000 are bestowed to outstanding leaders in the Middle Tennessee area.

  • Mental Health America of Lake County (MHALC) was recently honored as the Empowering Business of the Year at the annual Influential Women of Northwest Indiana event in October. Each year, the event recognizes one company that demonstrates excellence in supporting women’s success. MHALC staff is made up of 64 women who are dedicated, passionate and inspiring. The direct service staff empowers vulnerable moms every day to enhance overall well-being and self-sufficiency for themselves and their families, primarily through home visiting parent education, with evidence-based programs including Parents as Teachers and Healthy Families. MHALC is also one of four nonprofits selected to receive proceeds from this year’s event.

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