Advocacy E-News October 14, 2014
October 14, 2014
PLAN TO RETURN DISABLED TO N.J. LEADS ONE MAN TO HOSPITALS, JAIL
Eighteen months ago, Tyler Loftus was a 20-year-old man who worked three part-time jobs despite his autism and mental illness. Supervised by a facility in Langhorne, Pa., that was his home since 2004. That stability ended in the spring of 2013, when Loftus was selected to be among the first wave of about 500 “Return Home New Jersey” candidates — people with disabilities who were living in out-of-state facilities the Christie administration intends to transfer to less expensive in-state group homes. The plan has been met with anger from many families and a failed attempt at reversing it with legislation.
N.J. MEASURE WOULD EXPOSE ‘FILTHY CONDITIONS’ IN BOARDING HOMES
Legislation pending in the New Jersey Assembly would require officials to post inspection reports for boarding homes and residential health care facilities across the state. There are about 1,000 such facilities in New Jersey that have come under increased scrutiny for poor conditions. Many of them house people with severe mental illnesses. Even the state agencies responsible for discharging patients to these facilities can’t access them easily. So, for example, a person with mental illness could be discharged from a state mental hospital to a facility that has just received a poor inspection report with many violations.
U.S. FINDS MANY FAILURES IN MEDICARE HEALTH PLANS
Federal officials say they have repeatedly criticized, and in many cases penalized, Medicare health plans for serious deficiencies, including the improper rejection of claims for medical services and unjustified limits on coverage of prescription drugs. Federal officials expressed frustration that they were seeing the same kinds of deficiencies year after year. When making decisions, insurers often failed to consider clinical information provided by doctors and failed to inform patients of their appeal rights. In 61 percent of audits, insurers “inappropriately rejected claims” for prescription drugs.
FINDINGS INTO MAN’S DEATH AFTER STRUGGLE WITH STATE POLICE
Three experts on policing said the troopers’ actions toward Garcia were risky, perhaps excessive. They also said those on scene failed to heed several early warning signs that Garcia was suffering from a medical emergency and needed help, starting with his complaint that he was having trouble breathing before a confrontation occurred. The state Attorney General’s Office said in its statement to NJ Advance Media, “cases such as this one certainly bring home the vital importance of training police to deal with individuals with mental illness.”
HOW IS YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE TREATING YOU?
Our nation’s health care system is changing dramatically. Major changes are happening in mental health care with the new health insurance marketplaces and the final parity rule requiring mental illness to be treated on equal terms with physical illness. Because these changes are so important, NAMI wants to understand how they affect your health insurance coverage.