Vice President Biden Announces $100 Million to Increase Access to Mental Health Services

White House Logo Credit:  The White House/Office of the Vice President

"As part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to help individuals experiencing mental health problems, today Vice President Biden announced that $100 million will soon be available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities."

$50 million for mental health services at Community Mental Health Centers $50 million to improve mental health facilities in rural areas

Read the full story here.

Rules to Require Equal Coverage for Mental Illness

parityU.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks Wednesday during a rally for the Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act outside the U.S. Capitol.

Credit:  New York Times/Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear

"After more than a decade of struggle, the House on Wednesday passed a bill requiring most group health plans to provide more generous coverage for treatment of mental illnesses, comparable to what they provide for physical illnesses.  The vote was 268 to 148, with 47 Republicans joining 221 Democrats in support of the measure."

Read the full story here.

Walker announces call for special session on BadgerCare changes

channel 3 logoCredit:  Jessica Arp, Channel3000.com

"Issues on the federal website healthcare.gov are prompting Gov. Scott Walker to propose a delay in his plan for health care in the state.

The governor had proposed moving some 77,000 people off BadgerCare and onto insurance coverage purchased on the federal exchange to make room for other childless adults currently without insurance, all in lieu of a federal Medicaid expansion.

Thursday, Walker said his plan needed to wait."

Read the fully story here.

Advocates to Scott Walker: exchange delays could leave people losing Badgercare uninsured

Credit:  Wisconsin State Journal/David Wahlberg

"Health care advocates are asking Gov. Scott Walker to explain what he will do with 77,000 adults being shifted off Medicaid [and into the Marketplace] at the end of the year if those people are not able to get coverage by then on the new health insurance exchange."

Read the full story here.

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Ending

Credit:  NAMI Advocacy Update November 5th, 2013

When the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") was signed in 2010, it created the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) as a temporary program to make health coverage available to uninsured people with pre-existing conditions until key parts of the law that preclude insurance companies from denying coverage (or charging more) based upon a health condition take effect in 2014.

Coverage via PCIP will end on December 31, 2013 and that enrollees must enroll in a new health plan before December 15th to prevent a lapse in coverage.

Do you have PCIP?  Read more about the changes here.

Local program helps people living with mental illness find employme

imageCredit:  Leah Linscheid, News8000.com

Check out this story about the IPS program at the Family and Children's Center!  Our very own Kathy Rohr, a member of NAMI Wisconsin's board of directors, is the program's supervisor.

"The unemployment rate for people with mental illnesses can be as high as 90 percent nationwide, but one local program is making strides in lowering that number here in La Crosse.  The Family and Children's Center has offered its supported employment program for about three years. The program aims to help people with persistent mental illnesses find their own place in the workforce, and it's working."

Read the full story here.

Artist with mental illness featured in healing art show

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Credit:  Janesville Gazette/Anna Marie Lux

Check out this excellent write-up of one of the artists featured in NAMI Wisconsin's annual Healing Art Show!"Three of Daniel's [Kies] drawings are in the annual Healing Art Show, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Wisconsin. The Madison show features local artists who have experienced mental illness. Daniel was diagnosed with a cruel brain disorder known as schizophrenia and is one of six featured artists."

Read the full story here.

Assembly to take up proposed mental health system reforms next month

imageCredit:  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Partrick Marley

"A legislative task force unanimously approved a sweeping batch of recommendations Wednesday to reform the state's mental health system, and the head of the Assembly said he wanted to take up some of those measures in November.

Among the proposals by the Speaker's Task Force on Mental Health are ones that would give professionals in the industry the authority to send people into emergency detentions, relieving police of bearing that responsibility alone."

Read the full article here.

Read all the Task Force's recommendations here.

Family to Family Teacher Resources

image Resources for Class 11 of the Family to Family course for F2F teachers -- Coming soon!

Attend the NAMI Wisconsin Teacher Leadership Summit to learn more! Register at www.namiwisconsin.org/tls, contact Gail Louise Auerbach for more information:  gail@namiwisconsin.org

Have ideas for content to post in this section?  Leave a comment or email annabelle@namiwisconsin.org!

Obamacare plan premiums unveiled for Wisconsin

image Credit:  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Guy Boulton and Jason Stein

"The Obama administration released figures Wednesday suggesting that average premiums for health plans sold on the Wisconsin marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act may increase less than previously feared."

"The administration's figures includes individuals and families with incomes below 250% of the federal poverty threshold — $28,725 for an individual and $58,875 a year for a family of four this year.  The tax credits drop sharply for those making above 250% of the poverty threshold."

Read the full story here.

For Native Americans, Mental Health Budget Cuts Hit Hard

image Credit:  Wisconsin Public Radio News/Editor

"Because of the reduction, the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D., will not be able to hire two additional mental health service providers, says Cathy Abramson, chairwoman of the National Indian Health Board. And that could have devastating effects.  'Since the beginning of the year, there have been 100 suicide attempts in 110 days on Pine Ridge,' Abramson said at a Senate committee hearing in Washington last spring. 'We can't take any more cuts. We just can't'"

Read the full story here.

Lawmaker: CCAP bill about helping innocent, not restricting access

image Credit:  Channel 3000.com/Jennifer Hoff

This article discusses current proposed legislation to reform the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program website.  The website currently contains full courts records, even for dropped or pending charges -- with no limit on how long the information remains on the website.

Far too many people living with mental illness become involved with the justice system as a result of untreated symptoms, public misperceptions of mental illness and other circumstances outside their control -- not because they are "bad" people who can't change.  Having a record on CCAP prevents people from accessing housing, employment and other resources.  Without these opportunities, people cannot improve their lives.  The public policy and advocacy committee of NAMI Wisconsin supports this legislation and further reforms.

Read the full article here.

Apply for TAD Grants by October 17th

image Credit:  Wisconsin Counties Association blog

The Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) program is a grant program for counties  to develop treatment and diversion alternatives to jail and prison sentences for non-violent offenders with drug and alcohol problems.  NAMI Wisconsin supports expanding program participant eligibility criteria to people with mental health disorders (along with co-occurring disorders and substance abuse issues).  Read more about how counties are using TAD funds here.

"The Department of Justice is now accepting applications for these grants. The deadline for applications is October 17th. Funding for approved TAD projects will begin on Jan. 1, 2014. Funding will be provided on an annual basis, but the Department has indicated that once funding is approved, the project will be funded for a five-year period, subject to the state budget process."

Read the full article here.