Advocacy E-News February 4, 2014
February 4, 2014
CAMDEN PLAN TO LEASE PSYCH UNIT DISSOLVES, WORRYING ADVOCATES
When Ocean Healthcare bought out the Camden County Health Services Center for $37 million last year, the plan was to let the county continue to operate the psychiatric unit under a lease arrangement. Now those 150 beds, which had been reserved for patients who were involuntarily committed, also will be part of the private facility in Lakeland, New Jersey. As a result, Lubitz said, patients are likely to experience longer waits at emergency rooms and shorter than necessary stays in hospitals.
FOR THE MENTALLY ILL, IT’S WORSE
The deinstitutionalization movement was well underway when Sheehan was doing her reporting. In the 1960s, during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, the federal government passed a series of laws designed to liberate the mentally ill from the acknowledged horrors of mental hospitals, where they were often confined for decades. The idea was that with the introduction of powerful new antipsychotic drugs, people with schizophrenia could live outside a mental hospital — and that hospital stays would be much shorter. The federal government gave money to communities to set up local mental health centers as well as housing for the mentally ill. But there were also many people for whom the drugs did not have a pronounced effect — or who stopped taking the drugs as soon as they left the hospital. Yet there were no longer enough hospital beds for them, hence the need for hospitals to drug them up and move them out.
ACA REQUIRES PARITY BETWEEN MENTAL, PHYSICAL DISORDERS
While the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies cover treatment for drug and alcohol addiction just as they would cover treatment for any other health condition, like diabetes or cancer, addiction specialists are still skeptical that kind of parity is going to happen, particularly for acute cases which may require inpatient care. It is not clear how many substance abuse providers are going to be included in the networks of most plans. While the ACA requires that there be so-called network adequacy, the state Department of Banking and Insurance is going to have to closely monitor the situation to ensure that insurance companies are including addiction treatment facilities in their networks.
MANY NJ SENIORS AT RISK FOR DEPRESSION
A new Federal report provides snapshot of Medicare recipients’ mental health before and after Hurricane Sandy. The counties hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy had a large population of seniors who were at risk of suffering from depression – but few of them had been screened for the disorder before the storm struck. This information about the region’s Medicare recipients is included in a series of federally funded reports that provide a snapshot of older residents’ mental health on the eve of the devastating storm.
NJTV CELEBRATES THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER ACT
This week on Caucus: New Jersey, Steve Adubato goes on-location to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act. NAMI Associate Director Phil Lubitz is joined by other prominent New Jersey advocates to discuss the impact of the Community Mental Health Center Act on its 50th anniversary.