Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New release from Budget and Tax Center on implications of Budget cuts

Go here for the report: http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=node/328

In the Trenches available

The latest copy of In the Trenches: Advocacy & Legislative Update is available.



Here is a link that might be of interest to you with articles on Health Care Reform.  NASW-NC participates in a coalition both state and nationally on chronic diseases.


articles/studies on Latina health issues







White House blog on healthcare

Here is a link to the White House blog on healthcare.  Enter your thoughts about why this is important reform for SWs to be involved in.





From the News & Observer regarding cuts to services…


Mental hospitals may lose schools
BY LYNN BONNER - Staff writer
Published: Tue, Jun. 30, 2009
RALEIGH -- Schools in the state's three psychiatric hospitals could be eliminated as officials consider making local school districts responsible for educating hospitalized children.

The change could have its biggest impact on children who are hospitalized for long stretches. Instead of taking classes at hospital schools that have their own teachers and schedules, students would rely more on their home districts to help them keep up with class work.

A patient advocacy group is questioning whether a drawback in school services would violate federal law or state code.

Hospitalization trendsMore young patients are admitted to the hospitals for short stays, but some are still hospitalized for weeks. For example:

At Dorothea Dix last year, about 35 percent of the adolescents discharged had been in the hospital a week or less, while about 20 percent had been there more than a month.

In 2003, 22.5 percent of young patients were discharged from Dorothea Dix after stays of a week or less, and about 22 percent were discharged after staying longer than a month.

Systemwide, 67 adolescents were in state hospitals on June 23, and 43 had been there for more than a month.

Children who are admitted to hospitals are expected to keep learning, if they can.

Some hospitals, particularly children's hospitals, set aside space for classrooms to help young patients maintain routines and stay on track with school work.

The change would reflect the realities of modern psychiatric treatment where fewer children spend months in the hospital, said Dwight Pearson, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services' office of education services. "Modern medicine has created some real miracles," he said.

Children admitted to psychiatric hospitals would remain enrolled in their local districts rather than enroll in hospital schools.

The local districts would continue to be responsible for the children's education while they are hospitalized.

"It ensures a continuity of service," said Pearson.

The new practice would be similar to the arrangements schools make for students whose injuries or illnesses force them to stay at home for extended periods.

DHHS has not discussed with local school districts that they may be asked to take on the responsibility for educating hospitalized children, Pearson said, because the plan is preliminary.

He envisions school districts that are miles from the psychiatric hospitals using the Internet to help reach students.

The trimmed education service was included in the suggestions for cuts the department gave legislators.

"It's part of an overall look at possibilities for the budget," said Renee McCoy, DHHS spokeswoman. "At this point, nothing is in stone."

But an e-mail sent this month from the DHHS administrator told hospital directors to advise teachers on the cut lists at some of the psychiatric hospitals' schools that they are likely to lose their jobs. Some teachers would remain at the hospitals to serve as facilitators and tutors.

"I do think that it's almost certain that those positions will be included in the cuts, so I think it is fair to give them some unofficial notice that this is likely to happen so they can look for jobs now when schools are hiring," Laura White, the Raleigh administrator who oversees the hospitals, wrote in a June 12 e-mail to the hospital directors.

The programming coordinator at Central Regional outlined in a memo how education would be rolled into a day where most of patients' time would be spent getting treatment for their illnesses.

Adolescents would attend school two hours a day, and younger children would go to school for 2.5 hours a day.

Vicki Smith, executive director of the patient advocacy group Disability Rights North Carolina, said it is not clear that the new plan would comply with federal special education laws and state codes.

"We have some serious concerns about the legality of doing that," Smith said. Children hospitalized for more than a week "should be provided an education," she said.

lynn.bonner@newsobsever.com or 919-829-4821


Cut care, invite trouble
BY RUTH SHEEHAN - Staff Writer
Published: Mon, Jun. 29, 2009

Reading the list of local and state luminaries police say were threatened with bombings and worse by Raleighite Angelos Vangelos, you knew there had to be some noses out of joint.

The list was long and pretty darn comprehensive. The mayor, most of the city council. Most of the county commission. The guv.

But what about the people left off the hit list?

Vangelos targeted Wake county commissioners Paul Coble and Tony Gurley, court records show. But what about ol' Joe Bryan? Nope.

Vangelos not only threatened the mayor and most of the council, he even formulated evil plans for the city manager and other city staff. But what about Council Member Philip Isley? Nada.

Vangelos not only made threats against Beverly Perdue as governor, but he also made threats against her as lieutenant governor. But what about her successor, Walter Dalton? Nothin'.

Gives new meaning to the old phrase, "ain't worth killin'."

But what really struck me about Vangelos' rantings and ravings is not so much the random individuals who were somehow spared that ire. What struck me is that he missed an entire group. And a pertinent one at that.

Forget the city council. A better target might be the entire state Legislature.

Oh, don't take me literally. I'm not advocating snipers or bomb threats. But it's the Legislature taking the knife to programs crucial to tortured souls like Vangelos.

See, it's easy enough to write off this guy as a screwball who's been communicating threats and harassing people via Ma Bell and the U.S. Postal Service for more than a decade. But Vangelos is more than that.

For one thing, the 46-year-old has been charged with assaults in the past. Perhaps he's not so harmless.

More tellingly, on at least one of the occasions he was charged with communicating threats, the court record includes a notation that Vangelos should continue receiving mental health treatment.

Vangelos is a dramatic reminder of what can happen when people don't receive the treatment they need.

And if you think there are folks running around without appropriate, effective treatment and supervision for mental health issues now, just wait until the Legislature gets done with the budget. Current budget proposals call for cuts of more than $50 million to the state mental health. And remember, those deep cuts come to a mental health system that the National Alliance on Mental Illness most recently rated a D+.

So I hope members of the Legislature think of Vangelos, seriously, when they're slicing and dicing in these difficult economic times. The budget is not just about numbers and bureaucracies.

It's about people.

Some folks, it's true, probably ain't worth killin'.

But every life is worth saving. Including Angelos Vangelos'.

ruth.sheehan@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4828


From the Insider. 

Not Blue
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina says company lobbyist Ken Wright has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in connection with allegations that he attempted to bribe a legislator. Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman, in a written statement, said the company was informed that the SBI had concluded an investigation into the matter and that Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby would not be pursuing the matter any further.

Rep. Fred Steen, R-Rowan, in a complaint made to the Legislative Ethics Committee, claimed that Wright offered to forgive the debt of a doctor, Eric Troyer, who practices in Steen's district, in exchange for killing a bill addressing similar situations. Neither Wright, Steen nor Troyer were named in the complaint, but The Insider earlier confirmed that the three were the parties involved. Troyer told The Insider that Blue Cross alleged that he owed $400,000 in overpayments made over a period of four or five years. In response, the insurer began withholding payments for new claims, he said.

Steen again declined to comment on Monday night. Borman praised the SBI for a thorough and swift investigation. "They have found no wrongdoing and no crime," Borman said. "Ken is a valuable member of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield family and we are pleased that this matter is closed."(THE INSIDER, 6/30/09).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Elder Abuse Awareness Day



Today is Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  It is also the day of the Together NC rally.  See their website for details www.togethernc.org.  it is vital we have everyone there to help our state legislature understand the consequences of balancing budgets on the backs of those in need of services.


Letter to the editor -- those annoying pop-ups



Published: Jun 13, 2009 02:00 AM

Modified: Jun 12, 2009 07:26 PM


Pop-up expenses

When I consider the way North Carolina historically manages mental health care services and expenses, I am reminded of a county carnival. I see our legislators standing at the Whack the Gopher game with a rubber mallet, furiously punching away at various gophers (expenses), such as the Psychiatric Hospital gopher, the Community Support gopher, the Homeless Gopher and the Prison/Jail Gopher. As soon as they knock one down, sure 'nuf another pops up.

When will they ever learn that they cannot save money by denying services to people with mental illness? The expenses will only pop up as another gopher somewhere else. Compliments of the "reform," we know the effects of cutting services. Our prisons, ERs and the homeless populations are reeling from hospital and community service cuts already. That doesn't even take into account the human suffering. What are they thinking?

Diane Bauknight,


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Helms resolution passes, but not without protest

This is from the Greensboro News & Record blog.  While this is not necessarily a Social Work issue per se, I applaud Sen Boseman for her courage.  Jesse Helms was a statesmen and a man who represented his beliefs.  However, he was willing to make his politics and personal viewpoints the law of the land.  It is unimaginable to me that we in the Social Work profession would support this view.  As NASW National celebrates Gay & Lesbian history month and as I, as a Social Worker and member of the GLBTQA community practice my profession in NC, I pause to wonder why our General Assembly would see this as a smart move.  NC has far too many issues on the table than dividing the state with identity politics.


Jack Register, LCSW -  Hull House NC Editor


From the GSO News & Record Blog

A resolution memorializing former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms passed both the Senate and House today, but it did not come without some quiet protest.

No one spoke against the measure.

But Sen. Julia Boseman, a Wilmington Democrat, voted against it – a highly unusual move on a measure that honors a dead person.

Seven other members of the Senate declined to cast a vote, including Sen. Katie Dorsett of Guilford County.

read more

View article...

Sex education bill headed to Senate floor

This is from the Greensboro News & Record blog.  This bill is on the NASW-NC legislative agenda.


The Health Youth Act, H88, which will now require all school districts to offer comprehensive sex education, passed the Senate Mental Health and Youth Services Committee.

Supporters of the bill said they were "disappointed" with the new version Wednesday.

read more

View article...




Friday, June 5, 2009

H codes extended! DMH announcement 6-5-09!

For Immediate Distribution
SUBJECT: Extension of Provisionally Licensed Providers Delivering Reimbursable Outpatient Therapy Services Billed Through the Local Management Entity (LME)
The purpose of this communication is to announce that the deadline for provisionally licensed providers delivering outpatient therapy as a reimbursable service under Medicaid and state funds and billed through the LME has been extended to June 30, 2010. Our Divisions will continue to pay for services delivered by provisionally licensed individuals billed through LMEs under codes H0001, H0004, and H0005 until that date.
As outlined in Implementation Update # 32, the LME may chose to provide this service on behalf of the provisionally licensed professional. If the provisionally licensed professional is employed by an agency, the agency must develop a contract directly with the LME to do this billing for them. If the provisionally licensed professional works independently, they should contact their licensure board prior to developing a contract with the LME to ensure compliance with each profession’s Scope of Practice.
In addition to providing outpatient services billed through an LME, there are various other means for provisionally licensed professionals to obtain the clinical experience required by their licensing boards. These include:
• providing outpatient Medicaid services working with a physician using Medicaid’s Incident To policy (see the March 2009 Medicaid Bulletin);
• providing Enhanced MH/DD/SA services as the Qualified Professional (QP) in order to receive family and community based clinical experience; and
• serving as the "Licensed Professional" in the Intensive In-Home service.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

House HHS Appropriations Money Report

To see the latest House HHS Appropriations money report go here

HHS Appropriations is already packed with families and consumers, how exciting!
Testing new technology of posting from IPhone!

Postings to Hull House NC

We apologize for any confusion recent postings may have caused. It has been brought to our attention that previous posts were not properly cited. NASW-NC does not post information that is not sourced and will diligently work to correct this error.

Jack Register, Director of Advocacy & Legislation- Hull House NC Editor

Mentally Ill in Jails

New Study Documents High Prevalence of Serious Mental Illnesses Among
Nation's Jail Populations

Council of State Governments Justice Center June 1st 2009

WASHINGTON--A new study released today of more than 20,000 men and women
entering jail offers the most accurate accounting in more than two
of the number of adults with serious mental illnesses in these

Using screening instruments to identify individuals entering jails with
most serious mental illnesses and the greatest need for comprehensive
continuous treatment, a team of researchers from the nonpartisan Council
State Governments Justice Center and Policy Research Associates found
14.5 percent of males and 31 percent of females -- or
16.9 percent overall -- met that criteria.

These estimates are three to six times higher than the general
and indicate that as many as 2 million bookings of people with serious
mental illnesses may occur each year. The findings, published today in
journal Psychiatric Services, underscore the challenges faced by jail
administrators to address the needs of individuals with mental illnesses
the face of budget cuts and extremely limited resources.

At a Capitol Hill briefing today, Art Wallenstein, Director of the
Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said,
at the county and municipal level were never intended to replace the
for a strong community-based mental health system.
Better alternatives exist and they must be encouraged and supported.
Jail is
not the answer for addressing mental illness in this country."

Judge Steven Leifman, Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental
for the Supreme Court of Florida, said, "Only through systemwide
collaboration and partnerships can we begin to close the revolving door
the criminal justice system which, today, results in increased
devastation to our families and communities, wasteful government
and the shameful warehousing in jails and prisons of some of the most
vulnerable and neglected members of our communities."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is leading a
bipartisan coalition of senators in pressing for full funding of the
Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA). The
authorizes federal grants to help state and local governments create or
expand mental health courts; offer treatment and training programs; and
teach law enforcement officers and agents to recognize and react to
situations involving individuals with mental illnesses.

For more information on the study, its authors and its implications,