Call to Action — Long Beach Needs a Showing of Support

Long Beach City Council Meeting
Tuesday, May 23rd at 5:00 PM
333 W. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach 90802
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Address of Proposed Site:
3200 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach

Please come and support the Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center. These services are urgently needed to assist people with mental health disorders and reduce the long waiting times in emergency rooms. If this site is denied there is not a backup plan and this essential service for those in a mental health crisis will be lost to Long Beach. Your support at the Planning Commission Meeting was wonderful. It is now time to finish this process and get started with helping the community.

Parking will be validated and FREE inside the parking structure at 332 W. Broadway. The parking structure entrance is located off W. Broadway (one-way street). Take parking ticket inside the Council Chambers with you. (Follow the blue arrows to get to the City Hall building) the “validation” stamp machine is located at the front of the Council Chambers on the first floor (in front of Minute Clerk’s desk).

There is a clear need for this center, and the location has been carefully selected. Not everyone understands the need for this facility, and some actually oppose it. However, the practices and procedures of this facility will not negatively affect the neighborhood. (CLICK HERE to see answers to commonly asked questions.) Your help is needed.

Because of the shortage of psychiatric mobile response teams, police and sheriff departments in Long Beach and surrounding cities have the difficult task of responding to mental health-related calls. The Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center is a facility that will save law enforcement time in the field, will decrease the burden on hospital emergency rooms, and will help prevent unnecessary incarceration by providing medical treatment instead.

BHUCC will be a place where people with mental illness can go to be stabilized (instead of going to the hospital ER). It can be compared to an Urgent Care Center (where people often go for a medical emergency instead of going to the hospital ER).

The BHUCC provides:

  • Crisis stabilization service
  • Up to 12 adults and 6 adolescents (estimate about 30 clients a day)
  • Doctors, nurses, therapists, peer counselors
  • 24/7 Outpatient Program
  • Patients may stay up to 24 hours
  • Average stay is 4 to 6 hours
  • Round the clock security staff
  • Discharged patients leave the area and return to their home and community services

Learn more at http://www.starsinc.com/bhucc

 

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.

Conference Presenters: Deadline for Proposals Extended to February 13th

0cb9926c-3944-4165-a01f-ea4e881410c0NAMI California’s 2015 Annual Conference will be returning to Newport Beach on August 21st through the 22nd.

NAMI California is seeking proposals for presentations for our upcoming conference. NAMI California highly encourages workshop applications that incorporate and address diverse communities through dynamic strategies and programs including:

  • Multimedia
  • Education/Training
  • Personal Stories
  • Advocacy
  • Diversity.

Below you will find a brief description of each of the categories. Applications can be found HERE.

You can send your completed proposal to conference@namica.org.

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This year NAMI California is excited to announce that its program will include 6 tracks for its attendees to choose from.

Transitional Aged Youth (T.A.Y.)

Workshops will focus on strategies and best practices for educators, early identification and intervention, and reducing stigma and discrimination for ages 18-24.

Criminal Justice

Workshops will focus on strategies around incorporating and partnering with the law enforcement, the Justice system, and other criminal justice sectors.

Strengthening NAMI

Workshops will focus on best practices in Board development, organizational financial management, and expanding access to NAMI education programs through technology.

Consumer and Family Engagement/Recovery practices

Workshops will focus on strengthening our voice as a unified organization of lived experiences, increase visibility and impact, and promote mental health wellness and recovery.

Advocacy

Workshops will focus on new and innovative ways to advocate, current policies and their impact on all levels (local, state and nation wide), and training tools to effectively utilize grassroots advocacy efforts.

Diversity

Workshops will be focused on strength-based approaches and best practices to engage diverse communities, increase access to programs and services, and reduce the stigma and discrimination among diverse populations.

Happening Right Now – 12/9/14 Beginning 2 p.m. EST

Live-stream of the Capitol Hill briefing on Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EST. Click here to watch the event. Speakers include:

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL)
Judge Steven Leifman (11th Judicial Circuit of Florida)
Sheriff Susan Pamerleau of Bexar County (San Antonio), TX
Commissioner Marilyn Brown of Franklin County (Columbus), OH
Bill Carruthers (Representative for National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Paton Blough (Represenative for National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Matthew Chase (Executive Director of the National Association of Counties)
Michael Thompson (Director of the CSG Justice Center)
Dr. Fred Osher (Director – Justice Center’s Health Systems/Services Policy)

L.A. County Unable to Avert Federal Oversight of Jails

Federal officials have rejected a last-ditch effort by Los Angeles County to maintain control over its jails and will move forward with a consent decree to address longstanding problems with mental health care in the troubled facilities.

In a letter sent to the county last week, the Department of Justice said that despite some progress, it remained “concerned about the sustainability and future durability of the reforms.”

The county jails have been monitored by federal officials for the past 12 years under an agreement requiring improvements in treatment of the mentally ill. On June 4, 2014 the Department of Justice announced it would seek court oversight of the jails, citing a dramatic increase in inmate suicides.

In a June 4, 2014 letter describing “dimly lit, vermin-infested, noisy, unsanitary, cramped and crowded” living conditions that exacerbated inmates’ mental distress. After suicides more than doubled, from four in 2012 to 10 the following year, jail officials did little to address the situation, the letter said, calling many of the suicides preventable.

NAMI Los Angeles Coordinating Council has been advocating for better conditions in the jails and with the leadership of Mark Gale and Brittany Weissman NAMI L.A. County Executive Director and the LACC Advocacy Committee things seem to be moving forward.

Mental Illness Program Could Transform L.A. County Justice System

From the LA Times

Los Angeles officials announced Wednesday the launch of an alternative sentencing program aimed at diverting mentally ill, low-level offenders from jail into treatment, a project they hope will signal a dramatic shift for the county’s criminal justice system..

The $756,000 initiative marks one of the county’s most significant attempts to find a better way to treat people who have mental illness and wind up in the criminal justice system by offering them transitional housing, medical treatment and job-hunting help. Officials say the pilot program will start in Van Nuys and initially help 50 people at a time, but it is expected to spread throughout the county and could accommodate up to 1,000 people at once.

The program is designed to reduce jail overcrowding and end a revolving door for offenders with mental illness who find themselves incarcerated for relatively minor crimes.

“It is time to stop bouncing people who are mentally ill and genuinely sick between the streets and our jails,” said Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey. “This is an unconscionable waste of human life and money.”

Read the full article HERE

Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, City Atty. Mike Feuer and L.A. County Superior Court Presiding Judge David Wesley, right, at a news conference on the pilot mental health diversion program, which they support. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)