Consumer Dialogue with DHHS Productive

On January 27th, 2010, at the request of consumer organization leadership, a group of consumers met with the Director of the DMH, the Chief of the Advocacy and Customer Services Section, and the Assistant Director of DHHS over Mental Health. 

On the same date one year later, that dialogue continued.  That day, four consumers met in the conference room of the Adams Building on the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus (the location of the Department of Health and Human Services) while three others participated by telephone.  Staff participating included the Director of the Division of MHDDSAS, the chief of Advocacy and Customer Services, director of resource Management, a behavioral health chief of the Division of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and the assistant director of the Department of Health and Human Services.   On the agenda for this particular meeting was the issue of quality and how we improve the quality of our services and our system.  We addressed the role of consumers in defining and even in measuring quality.  We challenged DHHS to consider the validity of current quality measuring procedures and how it could be improved.  We said that we cannot separate sound fiscal policy from the issue of quality at the provider level and at the level of system funding.   The discussion was lively and the ultimate position shared by all around the table is that in order to have a higher quality system, there must be a return to the actual values which should drive the system.  The consumer must be the ultimate, real source of his service plan. 

Mr. Steve Jordan, the Director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, left us with a question he would like for us as consumers to help answer as clearly and plainly as possible (a fill in the blank format):  “Every service or support should produce ___________.”    Please let us know how you would fill in this blank by writing your comment after this article.

To learn more about this dialogue or how to participate, please go to the “Events” page.

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Governor Perdue’s Budget Prioritizing Mental Health System Needs               

2-19  As many advocates know, the Mental Health Trust Fund has taken hits while its dollars have been shifted to other projects in the past.  Now it’s PAYBACK TIME.  The Administration realizes the state of our public MHDDSA System, and knows something must be done.  The Governor proposes, then, to put 75 million dollars back into the Trust Fund.  To read more Perdue’s budget proposal, check out the handouts that were included with her press release about the budget proposal.  The handouts are clear and pretty easy to read, and you can get them here.     The mental health funding is on the fourth page entitled, “Setting Government Straight”.  The full budget can be read here.     To view a brief video presentation of DHHS Secretary Cansler’s comment on the budget, you can go here

The Legislature will be taking citizen comments on her budget aims at a hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Legislative Building.  The speaker’s list is filled for both days, but your telephone calls and written comments to legislators are extremely important if we want to see the needed progress for service users in North Carolina!

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