Monday, February 28, 2011

New Bill- Eligibility Requirements for Public Assistance

This past week, a new bill was introduced- Senate Bill 121. This bill would require applicants wishing to receive public funding to take a mandatory drug test. Legislators who have had no experience with human services do not know the implications of this bill. Consider the clients you serve and how this would impact them and prevent them from receiving life saving support.

For example, a woman who is a victim of human trafficking who has been forced into taking drugs and is now dependent on the drugs to get her through the day or children whose parents are drug users may not receive food or housing...there are many more examples out there that legislators need to know!

Contact your legislators and the bill sponsors and let them know what this bill would do to your clients!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mental health facility closing its doors; 1,000 patients must find new treatment options

Rebecca Clark
2011-02-18 16:15:45
KINGS MOUNTAIN — Around 1,000 patients will have to find new treatment options after Carolina Therapeutic Solutions announced plans to close its doors.
The mental health agency located in Kings Mountain provides psychiatric services for children and adults as well as prescriptions for medications.
The provider was a hospital-based business until 2010 when it became a limited liability corporation similar to a doctors’ office, said hospital spokeswoman Dottie Leatherwood.
She said the Cleveland County Healthcare System, consisting of Cleveland Regional Medical Center, Kings Mountain Hospital and Cleveland Pines, helped provide the staff.
“We’re in the process of notifying patients that it will close the last of March,” said Leatherwood. “We’re working with patients to find providers and local resources to meet their needs.”
Originally housed in two offices, one in Kings Mountain and one in Shelby, Carolina Therapeutic Solutions was consolidated into one location in 2010.
“We provided a note just like any other practice that it will be closing and let them know they would not be seeing patients after the end of March,” Leatherwood said. “We’ve been doing that for almost two weeks now.”
She said there were multiple issues that drove the business into closing its doors, including the volume of patients needed to sustain the practice.
She said the mental health system is also adding additional resources to the region.
“We know that that is starting to impact some of the private practices,” she said.
Kings Mountain Hospital will continue to provide inpatient behavioral health services and a psychiatrist will be available for hospital consultations at Cleveland Regional Medical Center and Kings Mountain Hospital.
The new Cleveland Recovery and Crisis Center, scheduled to open in Shelby in March, will also provide substance abuse services.
“It’s just the outpatient office that would be closing,” Leather wood said.
The business also needed revisions to meet current standards.
“The current model has limitations on what it can provide for mental health needs,” Leatherwood said. “That needs to be managed a little differently.”
She said the outpatient behavioral health model is having to change throughout the state.
“What we’re hoping happens is that a private provider would be able to take a practice such as this and offer what really meets the needs of the patients,” Leatherwood said. “This has been a hospital-led program but really needs to be a private model program.”
She said many of the patients were not from Cleveland County.
Rene Willis, a therapeutic foster parent and also an adoptive mother, said mental health treatment options, particularly for children, are already scarce in Cleveland County.
She said part of successful treatment depends on the trust between patient and doctor.
“When you have a new mental health patient, it takes time to build relationship. Takes time to trust the doctor,” Willis said. “You’re breaking trust right and left. It’s so unfair.”
She said she was not told the provider would be closing until Wednesday.
She said she would like at least three months’ notice before closing to allow patients to find alternate care.
“There’s not that many psychiatrists in Shelby or Kings Mountain,” she said. “It’s a badly, badly needed service.”
Willis said the psychiatrist her son has been seeing has an office in Charlotte.
“It’s at the point where I’m taking my child to the office in Charlotte,” she said. “My child’s sanity is more important than gas mileage.”
She worries that not everyone will have that option or be able to find the resources they need.
“A lot of those patients, they’re on their own,” she said. “They don’t realize they’re messing with 1,100 different people, not to mention the staff.”
Leatherwood said patients will be provided with choices.
“If they need assistance making calls, we do that, but most patients its like if a doctor retires, you call and get a new doctor. We do have a list available for them.”
Rhett Melton, area director for Pathways, said there are a number of providers in Cleveland County that offer mental health and substance abuse services, both for children and adults.
“The two probably most comparable services to what they (Carolina Therapeutic Solutions) did are services offered through True Behavioral Healthcare and Phoenix Counseling,” Melton said.
He said Pathways also staffs a 24- hour hotline that can help consumers get linked to an appropriate service provider.
“There are some very good service providers who are options in Cleveland County,” he said. “We’ll continue to work with them as they transition.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Clark at 704-669-3344.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Message from North Carolinians Against Gun Viloence

I am posting the following message for people to see because of the harm imposed on social workers. Whether you make home visits or work in the public, there are two bills that mean danger to you (SB 34 and HB 74). Social workers are already in danger due to the nature of our work and this bill would surpass the already imposed danger. PLEASE contact your legislators (both in the Senate and the House) and contact the bill sponsors to let them know how it would affect you as a social worker!
Kay Paksoy

Only 7 percent of voters nationwide think current gun laws should be less strict.
That’s it -- just 7 percent.

Here in North Carolina the majority of voters, including gun owners, support our current state gun laws which keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
With such overwhelming support for sensible gun laws, it makes little sense that our legislators are introducing bills which would weaken North Carolina’s gun laws.
Yet in the first 30 days of our legislative session, bills have been proposed to allow guns in family restaurants, to allow concealed weapons into neighborhood parks, and to force employers to allow guns in ANY parking lots - even in churches or hospitals.
An additional ‘Shoot First’ bill has also been proposed, which seeks to extend this philosophy far past someone’s home into nearly any public place.

Allowing concealed weapons into our restaurants and public parking lots threatens the safety and lives of our citizens. Please show your support that North Carolina's gun laws should not be weakened.

Send this message to your elected officials.

Have more time? Volunteer to distribute our NCGV fact sheet to your elected officials.
Thank you,

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Coalition Announces Town Hall Meeting Series


You are invited to a Town Hall Meeting on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, and Substance Abuse Services

Sponsored by The Coalition

The Coalition, 40 organizations advocating together to meet the needs of North Carolinians living with the developmental disabilities, the disease of addiction, & mental illness, will host a series of town hall meetings on MH, DD, & SA services across the state. These listening sessions will:

• Provide a briefing on the current budget outlook

• Offer an opportunity to share your opinions about MHDDSA services and supports; in person, in writing, or online

• Update you on how to make a difference on these issues through advocacy

TIME: All meetings are from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Doors will open at 6:00 PM and the program begins at 6:30.


March 17Charlotte
Myers Park United Methodist Church
1501 Queens Road, Charlotte

March 17
NC Advocates for Justice Building
1312 Annapolis Drive, Raleigh

March 24
- Fayetteville
Southern Regional AHEC
1601 Owen Drive

March 31Greenville/Winterville
Pitt Community College
Leslie Building - Room 143
1986 Pitt Tech Road Winterville

March 31
- Wilmington
Hampton Inn
2320 South 17th Street, Wilmington

April 7
Forsyth Community College, Main Campus
Ardmore Hall Auditorium
2100 Silas Creek Parkway

April 7
- Asheville
Mountain Area Heath Education Center (MAHEC)
501 Biltmore Ave

Action Alert!

As mentioned this weekend, there are two bills circulating the legislature that could mean harm to social workers. NASW-NC has been in communication with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence (NCGV). Below are several ways you can take action against the bill!

Send a direct email to your officials:


Also, check out how similar legislation as impacted Florida...

As always, do not hesitate to contact me with questions!
Kay Paksoy

News from The Coalition

NASW-NC is a part of The Coalition, a group that advocates for adequate funding for the mental health/developmental disabilities and substance abuse system on behalf of persons and their families living with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictive diseases. See the article below for news from The Coalition:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Judge removes man from death row due to mental illness

Provided is a link to a local Raleigh news station- WRAL- this story reports on a judge freeing a Durham man with mental illness from death row thanks to legislation passed in 2009:

Governor Perdue puts out her budget

It's been a busy week! Governor Perdue announced her budget late in the morning on Thursday. To view the press release: Another post of interest on the Governor's blog:

To view the budget:

Some highlights from her budget:
- $75 million in the Mental Health Trust Fund to develop alternatives to institutional care.
- Division of Child Development ($25.256 million cut)
Smart Start - $9.415 million reduction for FY12 and FY13 (recurring). This is a 5% cut.
- Transportation Services - $1.001 million reduction for FY12 and FY13 (recurring). This line item prohibits the use of subsidy funds for transportation services.
Subsidy Payment for More at Four Portion of the Day - $1.305 million reduction for FY12 and FY13 (recurring).
- Reduce County Services Support - $6.12 million reduction for FY12 and FY13 (recurring). This one is a bit troubling – the Governor’s budget claims that the funding reduction will be offset by a new attendance and tracking system. (This same item was in the budget two years ago).
- Cuts to post-secondary child care services - $7.052 million for FY12 and FY13 (recurring). This is also troubling. The line item isn’t particularly specific, but this cut will mean that fewer parents can access child care subsidies to receive a post-secondary education.
- Early Intervention Branch - $3.5 million reduction for FY12 and FY13 (recurring). This line item cuts funding for Children’s Developmental Services Agencies.
- Cuts to Local Health Departments - $6.8 million for FY12 and FY13 (recurring). This item reducing funding for local health departments to 06-07 levels.
- Cut funding for local DSS - $5.473 million reduction for FY12 and FY13 (recurring). These cuts have been in place for the past two years, but as non-recurring cuts. This line item makes the cuts permanent.
- Residential Schools for the Deaf and Blind; ($1.7m); R; 5% reduction may eliminate 22 positions
- More at Four; ($4m); R; 5% reduction. Another $6m of the state appropriation will come instead from transfer of TANF block grant receipts from DHHS
- Juvenile Justice: Cuts $11m, or 7.3% of the base budget, for a total appropriation of $140.6m. Eliminates 60 positions.
(Parts of this were extracted from the Covenant for NC Children budget analysis).

Look for more budget break down this week!

Bills of Interest- Highlights from Week 3 and 4 of Session

Hello blog followers!
Because of all the work going on at the building, in coalition meetings and elsewhere, I wanted to update you all on some serious action items to bills. I am leaving it up to you, the social worker and expert in your particular area, to contact your legislators and let them know how these bills may impact your work and clients. I will try to do some more updates this week. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me!
Kay Paksoy

SB 34/ HB 74 The Castle Doctrine
SB 34 refers specifically to the home- if passed, a 'dweller' has the right to self defense if they believe someone is intruding their home with the intentions of harming them. A bill sponsor commented that it gives someone the right to "shot and ask questions later." This has serious implications if you are a social worker that makes home visits. Please let the bill sponsors know the danger this bill can put you in as you travel to work in your clients' homes.
HB 74 extends beyond the home and is even more of a threat to social workers- this extends to one's home, self, vehicle, etc.

- While we believe everyone should have the right to protect themselves if feeling threatened, these two bills will put social workers in serious harm because of the intricate work we do in homes and community settings. Bill sponsors and your legislators need to know what these bills mean to your work!

HB 100 Nonprofits/Criteria to Receive State Funds
This bill does two big things that will make it difficult for nonprofits to receive funding: 1- it requires the organization to receive at least 35% of their funding from private sources and 2- they can spend no more than 15% of their budget on administrative expenses.
- If you are a social worker working in a nonprofit, I would highly recommend you become familiar with the bill and how it would affect your organization. Contact the bills sponsors and your own legislators and let them know what that means for the services you provide and the clients it affects.

HB 115/HB 126 North Carolina Health Benefit Exchange Act
- The Health Benefit Exchange (HBE) comes out of the federal health care reform that requires citizens to obtain health insurance by 2014. The HBEs are to help facilitate the process for selecting health insurance- these two bills create panels to investigate health insurance and become familiar to help citizens choose.
- There is not much activity going on with these bills yet but look out for more information to come. I would look into both and see which one outlines a panel YOU would like to see work during this process.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bills of Interest- Second week of Session

The following list are bills filed this week that may be of interest to some social workers.

House Bill 28: DHHS to Provide Law Enforcement Information
- We are following closely to this bill to see that it will not violate HIPPA
- Also to see that law enforcement are trained and know what to do with this information as to not violate HIPPA.
- Let your legislators know how dangerous it could be if this information gets out and to ensure that client records are handled properly!

House Bill 36: Public Contracts/Illegal Immigrants
- I have listed this bill as it impacts possible social work clients.
- While NASW-NC will not be lobbying against or for this bill, it will be of interest to some of your clients.

Senate Bill 8: No Cap on Number of Charter Schools
- As mentioned in the previous bill, we will not be lobbying for or against this bill. However, this bill is of interest to school social workers as it may affect their student populations.

Senate Bill 13: Balanced Budget Act of 2011
From Together, NC, a coalition group NASW-NC is a part of: On Thursday morning, the Senate debated a bill, S13, sponsored by Sens. Stevens, Brunstetter and Hunt, which initiates a series of cuts totaling $542 million. These spending reductions include about $142 million in cuts to various trust funds, including $11.6 million from the Health and Wellness Trust Fund.

Most importantly, the bill authorizes the Governor to make $400 million in discretionary cuts for the current fiscal year (the Governor has already agreed to do this). Presumably, this $400 million would then be available to ease the projected $3.7 billion shortfall for next year. At this point, no one knows where the money will come from - finding $400 million over the next three months is going to be awfully difficult.

The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate on Monday evening.

Senate Bill 28: Funds to Prevent Infant Mortality
- This bill may be of interest to medical/public health social workers
- For those working with pregnant women, this would be a bill to support!
- Contact your legislators and let them know how important this funding is, who it supports and provide person stories and testimonies from clients!

Senate Bill 32: Hospital Medicaid Assessment/Payment Program
- Again, this would be a bill medical and public health social workers could support! Click on the link to read more details about the bill.
- Contact your legislators and let them know how it would impact your patients and your work.

Senate Bill 34: The Castle Doctrine
- I will have more action steps for this bill next week. However, become familiar with the text of the bill in the mean time and the implications it can have on public employees. Be ready to gather stories and information to help stop this legislation.


Historic Thousands on Jones St.

Join HKonJ on Saturday February 12th, 2011 at 9:30am. This group has met every year to take a stand for affordable housing, voting rights, diverse schools, worker fairness, and many other important causes for social workers.

For more information, visit the website or contact Kay Paksoy at the chapter office at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Lobby Day!

Registration for NASW-NC's 2011 Lobby Day is NOW OPEN! This event is FREE (big kudos to staff and others for making that possible!). However, registration is still required. You can register here . You will be required to set up your own appointments with your legislators. Please review all information on Lobby Day Tips.

Should you have further questions, please contact Kay Paksoy at the chapter office at