Advocacy E-News October 11, 2016
October 11, 2016
APPROVAL FOR OVERSIGHT OF CONTROVERSIAL MEDICAID REFORM
State lawmakers showed strong support for a new proposal to provide outside oversight of New Jersey’s ongoing transition to a new Medicaid payment system. The reform involves moving from a system in which the state paid providers through annual negotiated contracts to one where they are reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis. Those who work directly with the affected patients said even if an independent monitor was quickly established, providers will be forced to reduce services as the state changes the way it reimburses them for a wide variety of treatments.
CONTROVERSY SWIRLS AROUND MARLBORO ZOMBIE ATTRACTION
According to the attraction description, the zombies were once patients living at the real-life Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. For Sylvia Axelrod, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Jersey, the connection to the hospital was disturbing.
“If this was a hospital that served patients with cancer, would they feel that’s OK?” Axelrod asked. “Would you do that with any other illness?”
WHEN ‘YELLING COMMANDS’ IS THE WRONG POLICE RESPONSE
Police use of force — sometimes lethal — against those with diminished mental capacity is distressingly common. The experts and advocates say that while training and practices have improved in the last generation, officers in many agencies still receive little or no education in how to recognize and deal with people who may not behave rationally. In the last two decades, there has been a growing trend to teach officers to de-escalate tensions, particularly with troubled people, but experts say there is a long way to go before the techniques reach every department and every officer, and really sink into the law enforcement mind-set.
NEW BAIL, SPEEDY TRIAL GUIDELINES COMING TO N.J.
Upcoming changes in court rules that will largely eliminate money bails and ensure speedy trials. The new system, which takes effect Jan. 1, uses a list of objective criteria to ensure a person arrested on a complaint warrant will appear in court when required. Some defendants classified as high risks of not appearing in court can be released on a combination of monetary bail and supervision, while those considered to be dangerous could be held without bail.
FIRST “SAFE HAVEN” HOUSING FACILITY FOR CHRONICALLY HOMELESS PEOPLE WITH SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESSES
Essex County is set to welcome what developers are calling the first “safe haven” housing facility for chronically homeless people with severe mental illnesses to its new home in Newark next year. The supportive housing project aims to reduce the burden placed on the emergency care system at University Hospital. To help reach this goal, the hospital will identify high utilizers of emergency care and provide referrals to staff at A Better Life for review and placement.
NAMI AIMS TO ‘STOMP OUT’ STIGMA
Every year, the mental health community comes together during the first week in October to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Week and last Wednesday in Newton, Yudof moderated a panel discussion “Standing Together to Stomp Out Stigma”. The discussion was aimed at showing the community ways to work together to fight stigmas, or discrimination, that comes with mental illness. Stigma has a huge effect on how people dealing with mental health challenges approach professional treatment and how they manage their recoveries while living, learning, working, socializing, and taking care of their families.
WHAT IT’S LIKE CARING FOR LOVED ONES WITH MENTAL ILLNESSES?
The diagnosis changed his life. It changed his mother’s, too.
Fern Fine and her husband, Scott, knew little of mental illness before their adult son was diagnosed with a combination of schizophrenia and a mood disorder.
Fine felt terrified and alone. And she joined the more than 20 percent of the U.S. population providing care to people with disabilities, old age and physical and mental illnesses. She found solace and understanding through her involvement with the NAMI and its members, but it took a long time.