Advocacy E-News February 22, 2016
February 22, 2016
CEO SAYS ANCORA REFORM EFFORTS UNDERWAY
Eight months into his position as Ancora Psychiatric Hospital’s CEO, Christopher Morrison says he’s impressed with employees’ response to his reform efforts. Morrison is tasked with turning around a hospital long plagued by violence and failed inspections. In the spring, federal inspectors found multiple repeat deficiencies at the facility. Many were the same problems uncovered by inspectors nearly a decade ago.
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY PROPOSED RULE FOR MEDICAID AND CHIP
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a proposed rule to align mental health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans with benefits required of private health plans and insurance. The proposal applies certain provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Act ensures that mental health and substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than medical and surgical services. The proposed rule ensures that all beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations or under alternative benefit plans have access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits regardless of whether services are provided through the managed care organization or another service delivery system.
NJ IS MAKING IT EASIER FOR TEENS TO SEEK MENTAL COUNSELING
New Jersey just became the 17th state to allow minors to seek mental health treatment without their parents’ consent, called the Boys & Girls Clubs Keystone Law. The new law specifically targets teens contemplating suicide, because many kids are afraid to tell their parents that they’re depressed or having suicidal thoughts. LGBT teens who may not have come out to their families and kids growing up in households where mental health issues aren’t culturally accepted can now seek treatment they were previously barred from.
RUTGERS PROGRAM TO HELP NJ VETERANS GET CARE SOONER
Rutgers University has launched a new statewide initiative to speed up the process for New Jersey veterans trying to get medical and mental health care. Veterans Total Care Initiative is a six-month pilot program supported by a $5 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Health. The program is aimed toward veterans who may be dissatisfied with the services provided by the Veterans Administration or who lack health insurance. Under the program veterans can line up appointments within a few days. In some cases, appointments have been made for the same day.
FUTURE’S ON THE LINE FOR BERGEN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
With a year to go before the contract with the operators of Bergen Regional Medical Center expires, county officials are weighing several options for the institution. Experts say it’s essential to preserve Bergen Regional — a linchpin in New Jersey’s fragile mental health system as more psychiatric facilities close and other hospitals cut or eliminate unprofitable mental health units. The hospital’s services are needed more than ever for seniors, addicts and even children.
WORRIED RESIDENTS CONVERGE TO STOP GROUP HOME
Township residents converged on the Township Committee Tuesday, Feb. 16 to challenge the anticipated occupancy change of the Holly Thorn House bed and breakfast to a dormitory for men ages 18-26 with mental and emotional as well as substance abuse challenges. Residents crowded the committee chambers to standing room only, protesting the anticipated lease.
“We have stopped (WayPointe’s) progress because of zoning issues,” Mayor Betty Ann Fort announced.
The appreciative crowd clapped and cheered.
“Our job here is to keep you all safe and Readington safe while keeping the home values and quality of life intact,” Fort said. “We are here for you and will do anything in our power to protect you.”