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.


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NAMI Wake is Offering Free Support Groups for People with Mental Illness in Local Communities

NAMI Wake is Offering Free Support Groups for People with Mental Illness in Local Communities

Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) August 19, 2011

NAMI Wake County, Raleigh, NC announces the expansion of support groups and classes for people with mental illness and family members. NAMI Wake County is the largest provider of support and education for people with mental illness and family members in the Triangle area of NC. Recently, the organization has partnered with Wake County to offer support groups to people who suffer from life-related stress and depression. These groups expand the capacity of NAMI Wake to serve more citizens who might benefit from receiving peer related supported. Groups are now available in Raleigh and Fuquay-Varina and additional groups will be forming in other Wake County locations. Other groups are ongoing in Raleigh that offer support for a variety of illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and others. Separate groups are also available for family members of people living these disorders. To learn more, visit the website:


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Ottawa Rotary Clubs Continue to Support Sri Lankan Tsunami Victims on Second Anniversary of Boxing Day Disaster

The cornerstone was laid on December 19 for a community Rotacentre located in Paiyagala, 45 kilometers south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, for the use of fishermen victims of the 2004 tsunami and their families. On the second anniversary of the Southeast Asian disaster that deprived so many Sri Lankan fishermen of their homes and livelihood, several Rotary Clubs in Ottawa are now financing the construction of the “Ottawa Rotacentre” there.

The Ottawa Rotary Clubs are co-operating with the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan which is overseeing the construction and operation of this first Rotacentre in Sri Lanka. It will complement the gift of some 27 Rotaboats given to 54 Tamil and Sinhalese fisher families in the summer of 2005 by these same Ottawa-area Rotary Clubs. Before the tsunami struck on Boxing Day 2004, fishing was the basis of the local economy and a chief source of food for Sri Lankans. West Ottawa Rotarian George Grande, Canada’s former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, commented, “This Rotacentre project carries on the vital work already done by Ottawa Rotary in Sri Lanka. It fills a continuing need in the efforts of fishermen to return to normal life. We must never forget them and their disaster.”

The new Rotacentre will be used for repairing nets and engines and also for recreation and meetings of the fishermen’s families. It is planned to build an adjoining playground later. The cornerstone was laid by George and Charmaine Neufeld of Ottawa, charter members of the Ottawa Rotary Tsunami Support Group, and co-ordinated by Kathryn Williams of the Rotary Club of Ottawa.

The Rotary Clubs co-operating in this venture are the Rotary Club of Ottawa, Rotary Club of West Ottawa, Rotary Club of Ottawa South, Rotary Club of South Nepean, Rotary Club of Nepean-Kanata, Rotary Club of Ottawa Bytown, Rotary Club of Kanata Sunrise, and the Rotaract Club of Ottawa (university students’ club).

About Rotary: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. It is comprised of 1.2 million members working in over 32,000 clubs in 170 countries. Rotary members initiate community projects that address many of today’s most critical issues such as violence, AIDS, hunger, the environment and health care.

Digital Health Coalition Broadens Support With Formation of Digital Heath Scholars Group

Digital Health Coalition Broadens Support With Formation of Digital Heath Scholars Group

Digital Health Coalition

New York, NY (PRWEB) August 02, 2011

The Digital Health Coalition, a nonprofit think tank dedicated to fostering innovation in online health care, today announced the formation of a new group of industry thought leaders to further support its current Advisory Board. The Digital Health Scholars, which currently number twenty-eight, will work with the Digital Health Coalition’s recently formed Advisory Board to advance the coalition’s mission of serving as the collective voice and national forum for the discussion of the current and future issues relevant to digital and electronic marketing of healthcare products and services.

“We are very excited to be publicly announcing the formation of the coalition’s brain trust,” said Joe Farris, Co-founder and Board President. “The addition of these twenty-eight highly regarded industry representatives is in keeping with our mission to have as many perspectives as possible represented at the table.”

The following industry thought leaders join the coalition as Digital Health Scholars, further supporting a team of leading industry executives, digital marketers, legal experts, market researchers, technologists, and medical thought leaders:

Irene Aquino, Shire

Brad Aronson, Entrepreneur

Wendy Blackburn, InTouch Solutions

Bob Brooks, WEGO Health

Pat Choumitsky, UCB

Elizabeth Estes, GA Communications

Pete Dannenfelser, Targetbase

Bill Drummy, Heartbeat Ideas

Zoe Dunn, Hale Advisors

Bruce Grant, Digitas Health

Fabio Gratton, Ignite Health

Manny Hernandez, Diabetes Hands Foundation

Paul Ivans, Evolution Road

John Kamp, Coalition for Healthcare Communication

Jennifer Korch, Bayer

Jim Lefevere, Roche Diagnostics

Ben Lei, Genentech

R.J. Lewis, e-Healthcare Solutions

John Mack, VirSci

Dan McKillen, HealthDay

Larry Mickelberg, Havas

Rich Meyer, WODTC

Mary Modahl, QuantiaMD

Eileen O’Brien, Siren Interactive

Timothy Pantello, Tribal DDB

Jonathan Richman, Possible

Tina Sampath, Gilead

Jeffrey Tangney, Doximity

About Digital Health Coalition

Launched in June 2011, the Digital Health Coalition – a nonprofit corporation – seeks to promote responsible innovation via digital marketing and communications in a connected world. The Digital Health Coalition has assembled leading entrepreneurs, industry executives, patient advocates, marketers, publishers, academics, and policy makers with the ultimate goal of recommending specific actions that will improve digital communication for the healthcare industry. Their first initiative is focused on the rapidly evolving space of social media and seeks to promote a world where patients, physicians, and brands can connect, empower, and drive positive health outcomes. Individuals and companies interested in being considered for the next round of Digital Health Scholars can visit for more information and to submit an online application.


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