Culture of Violence

Date of Release:  June 14, 2013 

Contact: Lisa Hutcheson | 317-903-9523

Mental Health America of Indiana to Address Culture of Violence at Annual Symposium

 

Indianapolis - Today at Union Station more than 200 mental health professionals, parents, and others will join together for the 16th annual symposium to discuss bullying, suicide, and other children’s mental health issues. Jesse Saperstein, who has autism, will open the symposium with “A New Kind of Hope for Autism” , as he tells his story of growing up with autism and facing bullying.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Rahil Briggs, professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University. Dr. Briggs has shared her thoughts on children’s mental health through many articles and interviews in nationally syndicated print and broadcast media. Her presentation, “Little Kids, Little Problems; Big Kids...The Importance of Early Childhood Mental Health Screening and Intervention” addresses proactive steps that parents, professionals, and others can take to provide support for children who may be at risk for serious mental illness. Several breakout sessions will be offered including suicide in children, bullying and bullying prevention, autism, and understanding the human behavioral response to violence.

Providing the closing plenary session is the Young Actors Theater who will be looking at the issue of youth suicide through their powerful and moving performance “Just Like I Wanted”.

For more information on the symposium, and to download the agenda, please visit our website at www.mhai.net.

Mental Health America of Indiana is a statewide, non-profit organization working for the mental health of all Hoosiers through education, advocacy, and public health reform.

Party Sign on Letter

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

We, the undersigned, ask the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue sub-regulatory guidance clarifying that state insurance commissioners have the existing authority to enforce the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (the parity act). Although HHS staff have indicated verbally that this is correct and certain Administration publications make mention of state insurance commissioners’ enforcement authority,1234 we lack sufficient documentation on this point. Many state insurance regulators maintain they need conforming legislation at the state level in order to enforce the parity act or that they have no authority to enforce federal law at all. Official guidance from HHS will clarify the issue for state regulators, allowing consumers better access to mental health and addition services that are already included in their insurance plans.

Background As you know, the parity act protects consumers’ right to mental health and substance use disorders treatment by directing most health insurance plans that cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment to provide this coverage to the same extent that the plans cover other medical or surgical treatment. This act does not require coverage for these conditions, but rather governs the coverage if it is offered. The parity act became law in October 2008 and effective one year later, but some insurers are still not fully complying with the law.

Read entire letter here...

Open Minds

Indiana Medicaid to Use DMHA Guidelines for Access to Outpatient Psychiatric Medications

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) will use psychiatric medication guidelines developed by the state Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) as the basis for determining Medicaid beneficiaries’ access to psychiatric medications in outpatient settings. The change was included in the state’s budget legislation, House Bill 1001. The legislation maintained the statutory prohibition against a mental health Preferred Drug List (PDL) and restrictions on access to appropriate mental health medications. Instead, it requires best practice prescribing as provided in the Prescribing Guidelines created by DMHA for state hospitals.

The legislation was passed on April 29, 2011 and sent to the governor for signature. The new budget year and related policy changes go into effect on July 1, 2011. The legislation will do the following to control costs and inappropriate utilization of psychiatric medications:

    • Dosages will be set to encourage recipient adherence to a drug regimen
    • Monotherapy will be encouraged through limitations on the number of drugs from a specific class that can be taken by a recipient at any one time without documentation of the severity and intensity of the target symptoms
    • Limitations on the number of psychiatric mediations that can be taken at any one time will be set by established best practices, or by guidelines implemented by DMHA for state-operated mental health facilities
    • Generic substitution will be encouraged, but prescribers can submit a prior authorization request for non-preferred medications by demonstrating medical necessity

Read more: Open Minds

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Bottom Line...

"Advocates in Indiana and Michigan are making some progress against Medicaid prescription limits by working with state lawmakers to find safer alternatives to ensure consumers with mental illness have access to medications."

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