Mental health care fiasco

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just posted this on Timer Lady's thread but I wanted to post it here too and add some more to it.

    I just went to have my weekly lunch session with my therapist. When she walked in I noticed she looked stressed. It is bad when the first words spoken are by her and they are "Can I tell you MY stress first?" LOL.

    Seems that our state has run out of funds for indigent care for mentally ill people. Effective immediately all people who have no insurance and cant afford to pay cash must be let go. There is no more public mental health system. This state went completely to a private community based mental health system where the services were offered by private companies. In the states great wisdom (said sarcastically) they had this pool of money to give to the various private companies to provide care to the indigent patients. This has now ran out because of budget cuts.

    This whole stupid fiasco of eliminating public mental health was supposed to save money but of course, it didnt. Private businesses popped up like mushrooms on cow patties drinking from the public teat. They bilked Medicaid and Medicare and private insurance out of millions if not billions of dollars. Before this whole thing went through, there were 3 agencies here that offered in home aids. When it went through, I watched them pop up. Now there must be one on every corner. They will be gone now.

    This is a nightmare.

    Joy and I have been tossing ideas back and forth before because we saw this on horizon but we really never thought it would actually come down to ALL money shutting down. We are thinking that maybe some way we can find a way to have groups for people who have no insurance. Who knows where it would be held. Maybe we could get a church to host it.

    People with no insurance are going to end up in the ER and if they are bad enough they will end up in a merry-go-round of psychiatric ward admissions. Of course, the admissions will want them to be seen outpatient but there will be no one to see a person with no insurance.

    A group meeting can help with some form of therapy but we cant do medication. Im actually putting myself out there as far as I can as a patient and as a person with disorders to try and help as many people with whatever disorders others have because this is idiotic. I dont want to see anyone go without some care that I can offer. Everyone seems to think I am capable of being more than just a I must have gained enough knowledge over the years that I qualify as having psychology training. LMAO. I guess when the option is nothing or me...Im better than nothing.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It is a nightmare. How sad that people won't be getting the help they need. I'm glad you will be able to help.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sickened by this. It should be criminal. Sadly, many with mental health problems won't even get to the ER. The police will be told to take them to the jail - there will be few, if any, funds to cover the vast numbers of people who will be at the ER seeking help.

    Many hugs.
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Janet- It seems to me that this is a public health crisis and the state has turned it's back on this marginalized population. A class action suit by a zealous up & coming lawyer is needed beyond programming for the uninsured mentally ill.

    Drug addicts and the mentally ill are often among the first to shoulder cuts because they don't have the organization or wherewithal to fight for their rights. AIDS was a huge problem among the drug-using population in Buffalo 15+ years ago due to the sharing of works among intravenous drug users and sex for drugs. The state DOH shirked it's responsibilities to the population by not actively seeking to cap the epidemic in culturally appropriate ways. I was involved in an volunteer organization that utilized a little-known state public health law and set-up a prevention program in the most highly impacted areas. The program included a needle-exchange, which was illegal. (Our motto was that dead addicts don't recover.) We didn't have access to a law firm to fight for the drug users rights, but we did know some sympathetic defense lawyers, so we started the needle exchange knowing that our volunteers would be arrested and charged. This gave us the opening to start the fight with the DOH in that our volunteers were acquitted on the grounds that we were only doing what the state had been remiss in providing in the face of a public emergency. We then showed that there was a bias against the impacted population and that the lack of programming and services equaled discrimination.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that you may be able to find a law or statute that will legally compel the state to provide funding. Good luck. It is an immoral and evil thing that is happening in your state.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    And guess what was the headline on our local paper yesterday?

    Doctors being sought to help in the war against opiate addiction

    The article went on to pontificate about how there was such a huge problem in our county and the surrounding counties with opiate addiction in both adults and especially teens. They specifically targeted teens with a specific number. I am skeptical about how they came up with a specific number of teen addicts to opiates. I mean 966 is an odd number. I want to know where that number came from.

    They want programs and coalitions to work on substance abuse especially relating to opiate abuse, opiate use, opiate storage...etc. Where on earth is this money supposed to come from? The money would be far better used to deal with the mental issues that cause the need for substance abuse in the first place.

    I attempted to reply to this article but when I did, it wouldnt let my reply go
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Our governemnt is a mess and I don't think there is enough money to do half the stuff needed in any state. It seems like mental health needs will always be one of the first to be neglected because the politician's supporters just don't get the need for it as much as other things. I hope this is short-lived but unfortunately, it appears that people might not wake up for a while.
  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Ug Janet, Things just keep getting worse and worse for the MI. It is appaulling how they are treated in "the greatest country in the world" -RM
  8. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    we do a lot of volunteering for safety issues. We see a LOT of those that need mental health services in the justice system instead. There just isn't anything else to do with them. We tried to get a sales tax passed (half a percent for 7 years, quarter for 8, then done) for a comprehensive safety plan. Included in this was support for mental health, recidivism programs, juvenile prevention programs, reintroduction to society programs, and yes, a new jail because we were loosing 800 beds. The opposition locked onto that "new jail" and that's ALL anyone heard about, and the measure was defeated.

    It's just so sad. It's sad to see Vito yet again in jail again (Vito is schizophrenic, and at times, gets "set up" by the neighborhood druggies to take a fall for them). It's sad to see Todd back in court again (I'm not sure what diagnosis Todd has but he self medicates and has a nasty streak when he does).
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm surprised ours hasn't already gone broke myself. Including the medical part that was also farmed out to private companies, whom they told could keep any profits for you end up with worse healthcare than you had when the state itself was running the show.

    I hope either a class action suit or something can be figured out by those in the mental health system. But it's like when they closed the state hospitals..........they claimed it was due to substandard conditions, but none reopened.

    Wow. Poor people.

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think they are going to have to reopen state hospitals again. If there is no county mental health, what else is there? Do we have to go shoplift a head of lettuce to get some mental health care? How many times is that going to go on before the courts say...NO MORE, we cant afford it!
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well...I hope this isn't a spreading trend but you know they have closed almost all of our state phosps here and are in the process of closing our last one for kids. Yes, they do let it turn into a legal issue and put them all into incarceration or probation/parole- but this has been my issue- they are NOT training the po's to know how to "case manage" these people and know appropriate services- and the funding they have available doesn't cover the mental health side of things- the PO's can advocate to the local "teams" in charge of a bigger pool of funding and get mental health services that way, but that would require the po's knowing what to advocate for and understanding that it really is needed. (difficult child's GAL didn't even understand and know about appropriate mental health care and the PO's sure don't either.)

    But- of course, that doesn't solve the problem of preventing illegal activity by people having access to appropriate mental health care to begin with. What I have been told here is that the general public (voters and taxpayers) don't mind feeling like they are investing to get criminals off the streets but they don't like thinking that their money is going to provide mental health care for someone else, and that's why funds go in the direction they do.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...if there are no funds? And the agencies close down because the funds run out...where are they going to send these people?

    Literally...maybe my state and county is an exception but we had/have a huge population of indigent patients who accessed mental heath through these community based programs. Most people who have private insurance...and that includes medicare and medicaid unless it is people with kids who wanted the aides for in home services or people who were looking for therapy....used private psychiatrists because these psychiatrists at these places are not good. I use a private psychiatrist. Some people even use private therapy agencies. that means most people who were using the new "private for pay agencies" that sprang up were medicaid and indigent patients. Now medicaid is cutting money by the handfuls and indigent is gone. Agencies will be dropping like flies. But there wont be the public state run agencies left behind to take up the slack. Oh we have the buildings but they only have the county and state employees that are there to tell callers how to go get help...but now they cant do that because there is no more help to be had so I guess those folks are out of a job too.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have been asking that at difficult child's Department of Juvenile Justice facility and they just shake their heads- they don't know. They have started closing Department of Juvenile Justice facilties now and yes, a lot of state workers are being laid off or having hours cut. Of course, difficult child is happy- they are now changing the law that allows more than 4 mos taken off a sentence for good behavior- wonder why?? because the kids that were in the facilities that closed are being moved into facilities that were almost full to begin with. You would think someone would figure out that the cycle won't stop until they quit barking up the wrong tree- people who choose professions in Department of Juvenile Justice and corrections for adults are not people who even care about or believe in mental health problems many times. I have found that some working at the state Department of Juvenile Justice faciltity were a little more "up" on mental health issues though- unlike our county people, even the parole officer (who is a state Department of Juvenile Justice employee but works at the county bldg), who are completely clueless. They just keep doing the same because, you know, "it's what they typically do". And does it work? No- but that's the kid's and the parent's fault in their minds.

    Mind you- they are still arresting more and more kids at schools and in the community, meaning the rate of incarceration keeps increasing. The PO told me this week that the schools have now asked for (and goten) a full time probation officer assigned to the high schools so that when a kid on parole or probation gets in trouble at school, they go straight to the po there. This just pushes more and more authority and discipline out of the sd and into the legal system, which as far as I'm concerned, is the problem anyway. in my humble opinion, if they put discipline (appropriate- not absurd) back into the sd's and authority back to the parents instead of the government/legal system, we might not have as many problems to begin with. Then, fundinig could be steered to mental health and the Department of Juvenile Justice could be used only for the more extreme cases- like violent offenders who never responded to mental health treatment.

    But that's just my 2 cents, which the governor has not asked me for yet. LOL!!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Janet, that's really scary. REALLY scary. They are cutting services here, but they still have county mental health centers, how good depends on how rich the district is, of course.

    I can't even conceive of handing out money to private practices. Why didn't they just KEEP the county mental health facilities???? They aren't that good, but they sure beat the hello out of NOTHING.

    In low population areas where I live and I am sort of assuming you live, Janet, it is even hard to form a group and get people to come. We have a lot of AA and NA groups, but the other self-help groups...they're too far. All the groups are at our mental health center. If it goes

    I feel so bad for the sick people who have no insurance. Heck, the mentally ill have always come last :(.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM...we are the largest county in our state and one of the poorest. There is little economic industry in our county. We used to be one of the high tobacco counties and one of the counties with lots plants for Converse and textiles but that went south. Now if you dont work retail, for the hospital system, for the county, or out of the are unemployed. Sad.
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Your post caused me to look into it here. Just in case as Nichole has used county mental health services in the past, and may need it in the future. Our county mental health wasn't great to begin with. Nichole's last psychiatrist there was excellent. But she was doing it as a "pay back" sort of thing for something in her past. A play it forward type thing. She's extremely expensive in private practice. And she did a bang up job at county mental health. The country told her they were attempting to hire 2 other psychiatrists. She held out for 2 yrs grossly overworked ontop of her own practice in Dayton. She'd spend 14 hr days at country mental health cuz she was the only psychiatrist.

    The psychiatrist Nichole had there before her was a moron and an imbecile. I knew more about mental health than he did. He had some guideline book he kept in his hand and everytime Nichole would utter a few sentences.....he'd thumb through his book (I always though of it as his crib sheet) then write something in her chart.

    The one they have now.......OMG. You don't even want to know. And funds have cut back more so that guy they're not even telling they're attempting to hire more docs.

    My psychiatrist, private practice, tried to help out by offering pay according to income to patients who needed it. He didn't want a patient to drop due to financial strain or loss of insurance. He'll also accept welfare insurance. Spoke to him when mother in law was in the psychiatric ward. He's majorly concerned about the number of patients already going without treatment and medications.

    Kids go to county mental health. There are no pediatrician psychiatrists unless you go to Dayton or Cincy......and in the listings I looked at.....darn few there. If our county mental health closes it's gonna get ugly around here fast!

    Schools will be overwhelmed cuz when they have issues with a kid, they get sent to county mental health for an evaluation. Standard procedure. ugh
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry about that, Janet.

    We were paper mill country. People had good jobs for lots of money and a strong union so they retired with good benefits. Our jobs went across the pond to Sweden and I think Germany. And some of the mills closed altogether. We are struggling here. Most people work in healthcare (we have a good hospital), are self-employed blue collar (and business isn't great) or have to drive over an hour to get to work. And there isn't much work. There's little money in our county too and they keep cutting services.

    It's really sad. Everywhere.