Your voice is needed on Virginia’s budget!
Here’s where we are in the process as of 2/15/13:
The House and Senate have each passed their version of the budget and rejected the other chamber’s. They have named their top negotiators, called budget conferees, to work out the differences between the two versions of the budget in a conference committee. Please contact the budget conferees to let them know the important items for children’s mental health to include in the final budget. They will begin working on these issues immediately, so please contact them today.
It is particularly important that you contact the conferees IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT! That is who they listen to most. But at this point in the process, all Virginia citizens may contact the conferees to express their opinions.
You may use our email system to send a message—please personalize, and especially note if you are a constituent. Or you may call or email them directly with the contact info listed below. Here’s what we want to say:
– Thank you for providing additional mental health funding. We appreciate that both the House and Senate funded children’s mental health services; please include the full $1 million that the Senate included. (Increasing the availability of outpatient mental health services for children was a top priority of the Governor’s School Safety Task Force; this funding increases the availability of child psychiatry.) We are also grateful that the House included funding for suicide prevention efforts and mental health first aid, and we support those initiatives as well. (They were both recommendations of the Governor’s School Safety Task Force.)
– There are a number of language amendments included by the Senate that we support:
Conduct a comprehensive review of Medicaid funded mental health services
Please support the Senate amendment (Item 307 #17s) requiring the Department of Medical Assistance Services to conduct a review to ensure quality, consistency, and a more complete array of services to maximize their benefit and cost-effectiveness.
Identify Available Mental Health Services for Public School Students
Please support the Senate amendment (Item 282 #2s) requiring the Secretaries of Health and Human Resources and Education to collaborate on a review of mental health services available to students in schools and in the community and make joint recommendations for best practices. (This review could be conducted by the Governor’s School Safety Task Force in its continuing work.)
Reinvesting Savings in the CSA Program
Please support the Senate amendment (Item 283 #1s) to allow unspent appropriations in the Comprehensive Services Act to be reinvested to address service gaps. This money could be reinvested to address critical gaps in the children’s mental health services system.
THE BUDGET CONFEREES ARE:
Delegate Lacey Putney, DelLPutney@house.virginia.gov, 698-1019
Delegate Beverly Sherwood, DelBSherwood@house.virginia.gov, 698-1029
Delegate Kirk Cox, DelKCox@house.virginia.gov, 698-1066
Delegate Steven Landes, DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov, 698-1025
Delegate Chris Jones, DelCJones@house.virginia.gov, 698-1076
Delegate Johnny Joannou, DelJJoannou@house.virginia.gov, 698-1079
Senator Charles Colgan , email@example.com , 698-7529
Senator Walter Stosch , firstname.lastname@example.org , 698-7512
Senator Thomas Norment, email@example.com , 698-7503
Senator Janet Howell, firstname.lastname@example.org , 698-7532
Senator Emmett Hanger , email@example.com , 698-7524
Senator John Watkins , firstname.lastname@example.org , 698-7510
Thank you for speaking up on behalf of children! If you have any questions, please contact Campaign Coordinator Margaret Nimmo Crowe, email@example.com.
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