Learn more about NC CANSO here.
GREAT NEWS! NC CANSO NOW HAS NON-PROFIT STATUS! CONTRIBUTE TO OUR EFFORT AND DEDUCT TAXES!
ALERT! SB 668 Introduced Would Remove Voting Rights from Many with Mental Illness. Posted 5/14
CHANGES, CHANGES EVERYWHERE!
You must wonder where we’ve been. Well, like many of you, we’ve been working hard as this year brings so many changes to our state. Most are good. Some are scary. And there will be fall-out–people falling through the cracks who need our advocacy until they find some homeostasis in the system again.
NC CANSO Board Members have stayed as current as possible on so much going on. We discuss details of the various work groups and initiatives as we learn of them, and several board members participate on various work groups where we can advocate for self-determination, dignity, real life outcomes (does a service really help a person live a better life?), engagement (real, balanced relationships between service providers and service users), etc. I have written about some of these changes on this blog site.
One thing we are excited about is the hiring by DHHS of Jessica Keith, North Carolina’s Special Advisor on the Americans with Disability Act. She was brought in to oversee the implementation of the North Carolina-Department of Justice Settlement which has followed the investigation and findings by the DOJ of our state’s institutional bias with regard to responding to the needs of the community of persons with mental illness. Jessica is very rights-oriented and has a personal philosophy that supports the strengths of people as the foundation to build upon rather than fencing them in because of their deficits or passivity. It is a sign of responsibility by our state’s leadership to have found someone of Jessica’s savvy and conviction and brought her here to ensure lasting change!
Another big change in our state besides the DOJ initiative is that advocates, leadership, and a growing number of providers are ready to embrace the turning of this big ship from its former “medical” orientation to one that aims to help people truly recover! That is, we are currently focused on managing symptoms and on crisis care more than on helping people live a healthier life of growth where they can recover. Now, between the mandates to contain costs of care and the moral call to help people live more independently and to find themselves outside of their illness, our state is starting to move in a new direction! As consumer advocates, we are happy because we have been urging the state to take a clear step toward developing and agenda for a recovery oriented systems for the past two years!
DHHS is planning a one-day Recovery Summit, a working meeting to include staff from LME/Managed Care Organizations, many consumer advocates, and several other stakeholders to establish foundational concepts upon which to build recovery policy and next steps. Because of the fixed amount of dollars for this, the attendance is limited (hopefully the Recovery Conference will be a good place for larger follow-through!). The key presenter and leader of this discussion is Mr. Harvey Rosenthal, who opened many eyes about our convenient timing to move toward a recovery focus when he was with us in November at the annual Recovery Conference.
Other changes coming at us fast are related to financial resources in our state and the fact we have a new leadership. As ‘consumers’ we should advocate for an efficient system for billing and authorizing services so that we don’t lose valuable service providers. After all, a consumer’s choice of whom he/she has as a provider should be a state’s value, just as we value other things that make people appreciate full citizenship!
Keep checking us out for more news and thoughts.
RESPONSES TO THE RESPONSES AFTER THE NEWTOWN TRAGEDY
How our decision-makers and the rest of our culture respond to the event in Connecticut matters to our futures as persons with mental illness and potentially other disabilities! Read one peer’s thoughts HERE. Read also about “The Dangerous List” here.
North Carolina Mental Health Services Will Begin the Year with a Bang!
Trainings about new changes have begun in January!
“Our state just did not have the political will to implement the actions necessary to ensure people lived more humanely and at least had a choice about where they were placed beyond hospitalizations. But because of The Department of Justice motivating us, now we do have the will, and this will help our state come forward as a people who desire a humane culture. So a broader approach to screening people out of facility settings has recently been developed and will be fully operational shortly.” (Read more about changes here.)
Subtitled “Turning Vision into Reality,” Recovery Conference Marks Tipping Point for Change!
This year’s “One Community in Recovery” conference on November 14 and 15 was the best of the four that have been held. First, let me say that for many, the title of the conference has begged the question, “Recovery from what?” Because anyone living in North Carolina and who cares about the lives of people with mental illness knows there is a lot our collective community has to recover from and on many levels. And then there is the future. Read more.
We Challenge Our State!
” . . . In North Carolina, if we are to ensure that life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness are available to all, then we have some hard thinking and much shared work ahead as we dismantle unacceptable systems and replace them with services that actually cost less and allow people with disabilities full citizenship and the right to grow healthier.” Read more here!
Let us know what YOU think! It’s important to us. You can comment after the article when you click on the link.
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ACRONYMS AND SHORTCUTS List
DHHS North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, the part of our goverment that is lead by the governor’s appointed Secretary of HHS (in our case, we have Secretary Cansler). His office is tasked with directing the funding and services for health and safety needs. Many of our most current interests relate to mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse service needs. However, the Secretary’s department must also work on ensuring primary health care needs, safe drinking water, clean restaurants, and many other areas. SO, Secretary Cansler has developed a new role to help him in his effort toward mental health services in the last two years, the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health within DHHS.
DMH or DMHDDSAS North Carolina’s Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, a subdivision of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
LME “Local Management Entity” A mental health care management organization charged with developing and overseeing an adequate local public service system that allows citizens ease of access to the appropriate services when they need them. LMEs are to ensure service value (quality for the expenditure) and reduce the need for citizens to go to emergency settings by linking them to the right services early when people need them.
LOC The Legislative Oversight Commitee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilites, and Substance Abuse Services.
DMA The Division of Medical Assistance, the division which is responsible for ensuring that persons eligible for medicaid have necessary services available across our state. Also, DMA is responsible for ensuring that medicaid dollars are used responsibly.