Advocacy E-News April 24, 2015
April 24, 2015
WANTING MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT AND NOT GETTING IT
More than a half-million adults who said they wanted help with their serious mental conditions last year couldn’t get it because they lacked the resources and weren’t eligible for Medicaid to pay for treatment, a new study finds. Those people adults ages 18 through 64 diagnosed with a serious mental illness, serious psychological stress or substance use disorder at the start of last year — lived in 24 states that didn’t expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act in 2014. People who don’t get treatment for their serious mental health problems often end up in local jails or on the streets and homeless. And that can cost state and local taxpayers in other ways. But a 2012 US Supreme Court ruling gave states the option of not expanding Medicaid eligibility. Twenty-four states opted out last year, even though the federal government would pick up 100 percent of the cost of insuring newly eligible Medicaid enrollees for the first three years.
RULES ON DEADLY FORCE IN N.J. HINGE ON PERCEIVED THREAT TO POLICE
The rules for use of deadly force by police in New Jersey are clear.
“Did the officer act reasonably to protect his own life?” asked Rutgers University criminal justice professor Wayne Fisher, who helped draft the guidelines. “And was the harm perceived to be imminent?”
The state’s guidelines for the use of deadly force, though, gives officers wide latitude in determining whether such action is justified, and govern local police as well. In the past ten years, the attorney general’s office has opened investigations into 53 police shootings, according to officials. Twenty of those cases were sent to a state grand jury. Only two resulted in the indictment of officers.
HOW CASINO CRISIS COULD AFFECT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The county-run buses that take senior citizens and people with disabilities to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and life-saving medical treatments are running out of funds from casino revenues that have kept them going through the years. Funding for county-run transportation for senior citizen and disabled residents is one of •8 state programs tied to casino revenues collected by the state. But as Atlantic City’s fortunes have waned, so has funding. The result of eight straight years of funding decreases is that county governments, which have kept the senior transit systems going with subsidies, have had to cut services and lay off drivers.
OPINION: N.J. SHOULD MAINTAIN ITS ‘HEAT AND EAT’ PROGRAM
The Christie administration still has not made a decision whether it will maintain the “Heat and Eat” program, which ties important federal nutritional benefits to state heating assistance. The federal government has changed the rules of the program, and now New Jersey needs to join eight other states to change its heating benefit to prevent an estimated $90 a month cut in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to 160,000 households that include people with a mental illness, senior citizens and children. New Jersey’s indecisiveness is perplexing.
DIVISION OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS SERVICES ANNOUNCES NEW SUPPORTIVE HOUSING
The Division of Mental Health and Addictions Services (DMHAS) has made 4 awards to develop or expand supportive housing to serve individuals who are in a New Jersey State Psychiatric Hospital. These awards will be targeted to facilitating the discharge of a minimum of 30 individuals, on Conditional Extension Pending Placement (CEPP) status who are in a New Jersey State Psychiatric Hospital.
SOUTH JERSEY PARTNERSHIP KICKS OFF YEARLONG BEHAVIORAL HEALTH INITIATIVE
A yearlong initiative to address the rising need for behavioral health services began Wednesday with the launch of the South Jersey Behavioral Health Innovation Collaborative, a partnership among five southern New Jersey health systems, the New Jersey Hospital Association and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers. In 2013, the five systems conducted a joint community needs assessment that identified mental health and substance abuse services as one of the Top Five health issues facing the region.
Mary Ditri, director of professional practice at NJHA, said: “This is the first project of its kind in the state. Five hospitals have come together to invest significant resources to really effect changes in the way patients in need of mental health and substance disorder treatment make their way through our system.