Advocacy Alert: There is No Health without Mental Health

The phrase “There is no health without mental health” has been a rallying cry for a long time for NAMI South Bay and all the NAMI affiliates across the nation. Progress seems to have been made over the last few years to have mental health as an essential benefit and to have mental health parity with much more to be done. Now with the current House legislation and the proposed Senate legislation mental health could be waived as an essential benefit and mental health parity could face a very serious setback.

Further, the proposed caps on Medicaid funding, which is Medi-Cal in California, would mean more people would not get mental health treatment and the availability and quality would be severely impacted. If hundreds of billions of dollars are cut from Medicaid, it will be harder for people on Medicaid to get psychiatric medications, case management and mental health services. And some people will lose their eligibility for Medicaid. This will push people with mental illness into costly emergency rooms, hospitals and jails.

The Senate should protect Medicaid and SAY NO to any health reform bill that:

  • Caps or limits Medicaid;
  • Ends Medicaid expansion;
  • Takes away protections for people with mental health conditions; or
  • Leaves fewer Americans with coverage for mental illness.

Please contact our Senators Feinstein and Harris to let them know that we cannot accept these reductions in mental health treatment funding and parity. They have already taken positions supporting our efforts but we need to let them know the depth of our concerns. Further, if you have families, friends or colleagues in other states please share your story and concerns with them so they can contact their senators.

CALL Now!

EMAIL Now!

Please see below for more information for you to consider.

Congress is bringing back the American Health Care Act, which would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid of billions of dollars in funding. Please remember that Medicaid in California is Medi-Cal. And the bill has gotten worse.

The recently introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.

It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.

Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.

Efforts are being made to generate enough votes which we need stop. We have fought for mental health parity for a long time and this act would reverse years of effort and mean many would not have mental health coverage. Your mental health coverage is at risk.

For a comparison of the legistation with the current Affordable Care Act please see this link.

Tell Congress to #KeepWhatWorks and REJECT the American Health Care Act.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

Major Medical Organizations Call upon the Senate to “Do the Right Thing”

In response to the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) yesterday, six major medical organizations jointly released a statement urging the Senate to “put aside” the AHCA and instead work with them to “achieve real bipartisan solutions to improve affordability, access, and coverage for all.”

The six groups that signed onto the statement are the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Osteopathic Association. They collectively represent more than 560,000 physicians and medical students. Among other things, the statement says:

Before and throughout the AHCA debate, our organizations continually offered constructive ideas on achieving agreement on legislation consistent with our shared principles. Regrettably, the AHCA, as amended and passed by the House, violates our principles, dramatically increasing costs for older individuals, resulting in millions of people losing their health care coverage, and returning to a system that allows insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

We also oppose the AHCA’s Medicaid cuts, including capping and cutting the federal government’s contribution to Medicaid, sunsetting federal funding for Medicaid expansion, and eliminating Medicaid coverage of essential benefits.”

In addition to encouraging the Senate to not take up the AHCA “in any form,” the statement encourages the Senate to take the following actions:

  • Work to achieve real bipartisan solutions to ensure that coverage remains affordable.
  • Stabilize the individual market.
  • Ensure long-term, adequate funding for the CHIP program.
  • Make primary, preventive, and mental health and substance use services more readily available to all Americans.
  • Lower the costs of pharmaceutical treatments.
  • Reform medical liability laws.
  • Reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens that add costs and take time away from patients.

The statement concludes: “We stand ready to assist the Congress on achieving these and other necessary improvements.”

How does the health care bill affect mental health?

  • The AHCA will strip over $800 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years, forcing states to slash mental health services.
  • 24 million Americans will lose insurance for mental health care.
  • Allows states to:
    • Drop coverage of mental health and substance use (one of the essential health benefits) from insurance plans
    • Charge people higher premiums if they have a pre-existing condition, like depression or anxiety.
    • Create high-risk pools, which are another way of charging people with mental illness more money and providing less coverage

 

Advocacy Alert

Mental health coverage
is at risk

Congress is bringing back the American Health Care Act, which would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid of billions of dollars in funding. Please remember that Medicaid in California is Medi-Cal. And the bill has gotten worse.

The recently introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.

It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.

Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.

Efforts are being made to generate enough votes which we need stop. We have fought for mental health parity for a long time and this act would reverse years of effort and mean many would not have mental health coverage. Your mental health coverage is at risk.

Tell Congress to #KeepWhatWorks and REJECT the American Health Care Act.

Call Now

Email Now

Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

Meeting Tonight — 7:30 p.m. — Conservatorship

Ms. Gilda Ramos Assistant Division Chief – LPS Program from Los Angeles County Office of the Public Guardian will present on Conservatorship at our monthly meeting 7:30 PM Monday, April 17, 2017.

Ms. Ramos is with the Office of Public Guardian which administers conservatorship in Los Angeles. She will tell us what conservatorship is all about and how one goes about obtaining conservatorship or having someone conserved.

The Caring and Sharing Support Group will start at 6 PM and the Speaker Presentation will start at 7:30 PM at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson in Torrance.

Los Angeles Mental Health Court Has Moved

Effective Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, due to structural damage to the Mental Health Courthouse, the courthouse, located at 1150 N. San Fernando Rd., Los Angeles, is closed until further notice. All courthouse operations, including hearings, have been temporarily relocated to:

Metropolitan Courthouse
1945 S. Hill St., Los Angeles 90007

Calendars are relocated as follows:

  • Mental Health Department 95 to Metro Department 69, Room 612
  • Mental Health Department 95A to Metro Department 70, Room 401
  • Mental Health Department 95B to Metro Department 64, Room 400

Public parking is available underground

To enter the building take the elevator from the garage to the first floor and pass through security to access the building elevators.

Metropolitan Courthouse

Meeting Tonight about Special Needs Trusts

Attorney Karen R. Holt will speak at our June 15, 2015, meeting about Special Needs Trust. Karen has spoken at our meetings in the past and her information has been very valuable to our members. If you don’t already have one, it will be your chance to learn about special needs trusts. If you have one established for your loved one, it will be your opportunity to gain current information and updates about special needs trusts. Information is very critical to avoiding loss of government benefits. You won’t want to miss this informative presentation at 7:30 PM at the First Lutheran Church.

In addition to Special Needs Planning, Karen’s practice includes Comprehensive Estate Plans, Business Formation, Real-Estate Transactions, Trust Administration and Probate. Special Needs Planning, in particular, involves advice and documents for complicated issues such as how to leave inheritance or gifts to a loved one who suffers from a disability or advanced age and whom may need long-term care.  Proper planning provides the necessary protection to insure the best financial and medical benefits available while enhancing quality of life for those family members who may not be able to plan for themselves and need our help the most.

The meeting will be preceded by Caring and Sharing Group Support at 6 p.m. in the Fireside Chat Room. The Speaker Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. First Lutheran Church is at 2900 Carson Street, in Torrance, California.

“Dangerousness” Should Guide Policy–not Mental Illness or Gun Ownership

From Psychiatric News Alert: About 8.9 percent of individuals who self-report as having patterns of impulsive angry behavior own guns, and 1.5 percent carry them outside the house, according to an analysis of the National Comorbidity Study Replication study. The study was posted online April 8 in the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law.

Among those respondents, said Duke University Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., and colleagues.

“Persons with impulsive angry behavior who carried guns were significantly more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for a wide range of mental disorders, including depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders, PTSD, intermittent explosive disorder, pathological gambling, eating disorder, alcohol and illicit drug use disorders, and a range of personality disorders.”

However, most of those people are legally entitled to own firearms because they have never been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. Reorienting public policy away from mental illness and toward dangerousness might reduce injury and death by firearms, the authors note. Current approaches to restricting gun access of people with mental disorders have no impact on most of this group, coauthor Paul Appelbaum, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, told Psychiatric News.

“We need to reorient our firearms policies toward limiting gun possession by people who lack behavioral control—for example, by taking guns away from people who behave in dangerous ways—rather than focusing excessively on people with serious mental illnesses, as we do today.”

For more in Psychiatric News about dangerousness as a standard for firearms policy, see “Violence Risk, Not Mental Illness, Should Guide Gun Access.” Also, see “Screening for Violence Risk in Military Veterans: Predictive Validity of a Brief Clinical Tool” in the American Journal of Psychiatry.