PAR Urges PA State Senators to Support COLA Legislation for Community MH/MR Services

PAR Urges PA State Senators to Support COLA Legislation for Community MH/MR Services










Harrisburg, PA (PRWEB) October 14, 2006

The Pennsylvania Association of Resources for People with Mental Retardation (PAR) calls upon the members of the state Senate to vote yes on House Bill 1813 when it comes up for a vote on Monday, October 16th.

This bill – which has passed the House of Representatives, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously – will help ensure stable funding for essential community mental health and mental retardation services and supports provided to over 250,000 persons with mental retardation and mental illness throughout Pennsylvania.

Community-based mental retardation and mental health services and supports, although completely reliant on state and federal funds to provide essential services to Pennsylvanians with mental retardation and mental illness, have been starved for years with either no increases or only 2% increases in the state budget while inflation and the costs of providing these services – food, fuel, housing, salaries, health and other insurances, etc. – continue to rise.

If enacted, HB 1813 would establish an annual cost-of-living adjustment for community-based MH/MR services based on the federal government’s Home Health Market Basket (cost of living) Index. HB 1813 does not remove the authority and discretion of the legislature in the budgeting process; rather it places community-based MH/MR services on a level playing field with the other major Medicaid provider groups who obtain annual funding through a similar mechanism. These mechanisms simply require the Executive Branch to request an appropriate cost-of-living adjustment in the budget each year, which is still subject to the Legislature’s review and approval.

“We are asking the Commonwealth not to shun the 250,000 individuals with mental retardation or mental illness who are eligible for services and supports. Pennsylvania has a commitment to provide for its most vulnerable citizens. Community providers are dedicated to the persons they serve and their families but services and supports need regular cost of living adjustments (COLA) to survive,” stated Shirley Walker, PAR’s President and CEO.

Walker continued “A consistent lack of adequate funding and absence of a fair COLA has clearly negatively impacted tens of thousands of Pennsylvania workers who are still earning poverty-level wages and there are over 23,000 individuals with mental retardation who are waiting for services – 3,452 of which are in critical, life-threatening situations. It is unconscionable that our great Commonwealth would allow this to happen to its own citizens. Voting yes on this bill is an opportunity to make a change.”

The Governor’s Office has publicly stated that Governor Rendell will most likely veto the legislation if it comes to his desk, citing primarily that they believe HB 1813 would cost too much money. PAR must ask – how can legislation that would provide the opportunity for stable funding for services that are an essential responsibility of government be ignored?

As Pennsylvania’s state budget has continued to grow, funding for mental retardation services has made up a smaller and smaller percentage of it. This bill will not reverse that trend but it will help keep the gap from widening.

It is time for individuals with mental retardation, their families and the people who support them to be treated as a priority of state government. Therefore we urge members of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office to make that happen by supporting House Bill 1813.

PAR, incorporated in 1970, is the only statewide provider association in Pennsylvania dedicated exclusively to ensuring that the quality of supports and services to individuals with mental retardation and their families is continuously improved. PAR members provide the full range of supports and services to tens of thousands of individuals with mental retardation in over 4,500 locations in the Commonwealth. PAR members also employ over 27,000 Pennsylvanians. PAR is a founding member of the MH/MR Coalition which has worked diligently to support people with mental retardation or mental illness.

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NAMI Offers Local Communities Support Amid State Mental Health Crisis

NAMI Offers Local Communities Support Amid State Mental Health Crisis











Arlington, VA (PRWEB) September 1, 2010

In a newly released interview filmed at the 2010 NAMI national convention, Mike Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), underscores the ongoing impact of the economic recession on state mental health services and highlights the local NAMI supports offered to people affected by mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The economic downturn continues to affect individuals and families in every state. For those living with serious mental illness, state budget cuts continue to jeopardize mental health programs, which results in added pressure on hospital emergency rooms, crisis teams, the criminal justice system and other aspects of society. Many people also are experiencing depression or anxiety for the first time and may be struggling to navigate the mental health system.

“Each year, NAMI members and supporters from virtually every state in the country to come together at the national convention to talk about their lives, what works, what’s effective, now to make change,” said Fitzpatrick. “During these difficult times, when people may not have access to the supports and treatment they deserve, people need NAMI more than ever.”

There are many ways people can find help and become involved with a local NAMI affiliate. NAMI offers a wide variety of education, training and peer support programs led by trained facilitators who have experience living with mental illness themselves or care for a loved one living with mental illness. In addition to these programs, NAMI advocates are active in their communities, educating local leaders and the public about mental health care issues. Find a local NAMI contact today.

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy.

http://www.nami.org

twitter.com/namicommunicate

facebook.com/officialNAMI

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New AIS Newsletter Provides Reliable News and Sound Business Strategies on State Health Insurance Exchanges

New AIS Newsletter Provides Reliable News and Sound Business Strategies on State Health Insurance Exchanges










(PRWEB) August 12, 2011

An enormous transformation in health insurance is about to unfold, as states begin establishing health insurance exchanges. To provide health care business leaders with the news and strategies they need to succeed in this brave new world, AIS is pleased to announce the first issue of Inside Health Insurance Exchanges, a hard-hitting 12-page monthly newsletter for business planners with health plans, hospitals and health systems, medical groups, ancillary providers, suppliers, pharma companies and state health policy makers. For publication details, visit http://aishealth.com/marketplace/inside-health-insurance-exchanges.

State health insurance exchanges, the cornerstone of the health reform law, will soon have an enormous impact on the health insurance market. Exchanges are sure to create a sea change for hospitals and other providers, employers and state health officials – and offer an unprecedented growth opportunity for health insurers. But the rules that govern them are likely to be complicated and confusing, and will vary substantially from one state to another.

Inside Health Insurance Exchanges provides reliable answers to these and other important questions:

*Will all health plans be invited to participate?

*If so, how will their products need to be designed?

*What will they be allowed to sell outside the exchanges?

*How much pressure will newly insured individuals place on providers who already are hard-pressed to accept new patients?

Inside Health Insurance Exchanges is written by an experienced team of health business reporters – led by Managing Editor Steve Davis and Executive Editor Jill Brown – with extensive knowledge and contacts throughout the health insurance industry. AIS has been the industry’s #1 health care business publisher for 25 years, with Health Plan Week, AIS’s Health Reform Week and Medicare Advantage News among its dozens of highly regarded titles for health business leaders.

For more information on Inside Health Insurance Exchanges, including a sample issue and subscription information, visit http://aishealth.com/marketplace/inside-health-insurance-exchanges.

About AIS

AIS develops highly targeted news, data and strategies for managers in hospitals, health plans, medical group practices, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations. Learn more at http://www.AISHealth.com.

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NAMI Echoes Iowa State Television and Mental Health Study Findings

NAMI Echoes Iowa State Television and Mental Health Study Findings











Arlington, VA (PRWEB) May 2, 2008

The National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Bob Carolla responded to a recent Iowa State University influence of television on mental health treatment study, “The Iowa State study is right. Television’s portrayal of people who live with mental illnesses and people who work in mental health professions too often reflects negative stereotypes. It makes stigma and discrimination worse. Hollywood sometimes gets it right, but only when producers, directors and writers take the time to do their homework. There are basic standards of accuracy, fairness and compassion that still produce good entertainment.”

Bob Carolla oversees NAMI’s StigmaBuster program which seeks to address outdated, outrageous, offensive portrayals or language about persons with mental illness.

About NAMI:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country.

Web resources:

NAMI: nami.org

NAMI StigmaBusters: nami.org/template.cfm?section=about_stigmabusters

Iowa State study release: public.iastate.edu/~nscentral/news/2008/apr/tvtherapy.shtml

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Vocus©Copyright 1997-

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Vocus, PRWeb, and Publicity Wire are trademarks or registered trademarks of Vocus, Inc. or Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.