Comments Off on Campaign Testifies in Senate Finance Subcommittee
On January 13, Voices’ executive director Margaret Nimmo Crowe and Campaign volunteer and parent advocate Cristy Gallagher testified before the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Human Resources on the need for more funding for children’s mental health services. Specifically, they were asked to comment on the Governor’s proposed budget items dealing with mental health.
Margaret testified that the Campaign supports the new funding to provide services to older teens and young adults with mental illness and believes that funding ought to be used to support evidence-based and evidence-informed services and supports. She also noted, however, that the proposed budget contains no other new funding for the child mental health system, and access to treatment remains a significant problem. The Campaign is recommending that additional funding be allocated to strengthening the crisis response programs begun in the last two years. You can read Margaret’s testimony here.
Cristy shared her family’s experiences in the child mental health system and the need for a comprehensive array of services. She testified that many families are not as fortunate as her own in their ability to find and pay for necessary treatment. She urged the senators to remember her family and the thousands like it in Virginia when making decisions about Virginia’s next budget. You can read Cristy’s testimony here.
The presentation highlighted the uses of the 2012 General Assembly’s allocations for children’s crisis response services and child psychiatry in three regions of the state. It also drew attention to the need for additional funding in the 2013 session so that Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads can expand these services. Finally, the presentation highlighted the need to take further steps to improve the quality and consistency of the Medicaid-funded services of intensive in-home and therapeutic day treatment.
The Campaign is supporting Gov. McDonnell’s amendment of $1 million to the FY14 budget for crisis response services and child psychiatry, as well as an additional $450,000 amendment to add to that amount to fully fund the projects. Further advocacy information about supporting these amendments will be sent out soon.
Comments Off on Coordinator Provides Testimony to State Senators
Campaign Coordinator Margaret Nimmo Crowe was invited to provide testimony to the Virginia Senate Finance Committee’s Health and Human Resources Subcommittee on August 27, 2012 in Roanoke. The subcommittee meeting was designed to help the senators better understand current issues in the behavioral health and developmental services area. Commissioner Jim Stewart from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, along with several of his staff members, presented detailed information about its current projects and priorities. A number of advocates were invited to make brief comments to the legislators as well. Written materials from all the presentations are available on the Senate Finance website.
Provisions of ACA already in effect that help children with mental health disorders:
Can’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions
Parity of mental health benefits with physical health benefits
No lifetime limits (effective now) or annual limits (starting in 2014) on dollar value of services
Can stay on parent’s insurance until age 26; former foster youth can stay on Medicaid until age 26 beginning in 2014
Well-child visits are free, increasing likelihood of early detection and treatment of problems
How Medicaid Expansion would help children with mental health disorders:
Covered parents leads to Covered Kids
Research shows that covering parents with health insurance leads to more children being enrolled in health insurance, more children staying enrolled in that insurance, and children more likely to access preventive and other health care services.
Untreated parental health conditions or large medical bills leads to Negative consequences for kids
Uninsured parents are less likely to access physical and mental health care, and parents’ poor health can contribute to a stressful home environment that affects the mental health of the child. Uninsured parents who get sick and have large medical bills lead to serious financial consequences for the family.
Transition-age children with mental health conditions
lose Medicaid at 19 unless they are declared “disabled” by Medicaid and Social Security (difficult standard to meet). Losing access to treatment at this critical time could have devastating consequences for the youth and cost implications for the state: keeping these 19+ year olds in Medicaid (with 100% to 90% federal funding), keeps them out of state/local funded programs such CSBs or CSA.
The Campaign is pleased that we had this opportunity to keep kids’ mental health issues in front of these important legislators who are key participants in the budget-crafting process.