Monday, October 19, 2015

Needed: National Reconciliation On 9-11 Malfeasance & Iraq Catastrophe

The malfeasance of the Bush administration's dismissing early and very late warnings on the 9-11 attack and both the Bush deception on the rationale for the Iraq invasion and subsequent catastrophe as well as congressional votes on this crime have earned a national reconciliation assembly.  Perhaps patterned after the South African post-apartheid commission work.

These two events, now far more that Watergate, have caused a deep and continuous lack of confidence in our political leaders and system as well as endless suffering among the victims.  This includes the families of the Towers, Pentagon employees and families of crew and passengers on the 9-11 flight #93 that went down in Pennsylvania.  It also includes the electorate lied to by the Bush/Cheney administration and mal-served by all those in congress voting to go to war in Iraq on well known bogus, contrived so-called evidence of harm to our country.  This also includes the thousands who gave their lives for this lie, hundreds of thousands forever damaged physically and psychologically by the war and millions in the middle east killed or displaced as a result of this crime.

There is now irrefutable evidence of longstanding economic damage created by both national security over reaction and debt incurred as a result the war.

It is my assessment after years of contemplation that the harm these two events of governmental incompetence, outright dishonesty and cowardice to face up to facts and reality have maybe forever compromised our democracy and ability to continue the great American experiment with public support.  We have been a despondent and non-functioning democracy ever since.   A significant portion of the electorate are now alienated from the process and not participating, or are angry at the wrong things with abandonment of critical thinking or believing outright proven untruths. 

A solution to at least partially repair our broken system and nation would be to create a program of national reconciliation, since there seems to be little national stomach for criminal, political and civil accountability for the perpetrators.  The political class responsible  are either enjoying a plush retirement while the rest of us struggle or continue to hold office, irrespective of party.  And they continue to deliver fraudulent narratives on well documented evidence to the contrary.  Again, while we struggle.

One of my struggles continues to be my nagging doubts about even those in my party who voted for the Iraq invasion and horrific occupation and supported grossly overreached national security measures.  Early on that included Kerry who in a Texas living room I challenged on his Iraq vote and he had the audacity to ask us if we did not join him in believing Bush's assertions on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.  Sadly, later I became cynical about the intellectual capabilities or honesty of both Biden and Clinton on their Iraq votes and support for overreach on the surveillance state.  Many other fellow citizens have dropped out and opted out due to their lack of trust.

Such a national reconciliation program would not suspend future criminal or civil action as the law might allow.  But by impaneling a Reconciliation Council of respected non-office holding citizens with expertise on the two major issues, such as academics, clergy and retired jurists to conduct widely publicized public hearings, we can have a start at restoring an honest national conversation about these events, come to closure on our failings and make a plan to prevent their repetition.

These hearings would hear testimony from willing perpetrators and their critics for a full airing.  Those that own up to their malfeasance or dishonesty would be given the chance to apologize to the nation and the Council would grant forgiveness.   Those perpetrators failing to participate and apologize would be called out by the Council and hopefully shunned by the media and electorate.

No doubt there are refinements that can be made to such a process based on what we might learn from South Africa's experience and perhaps other examples. 

Anything would be better than the current national limbo and amnesia we are experiencing.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Support HR 3717, Rep. Tim Murphy, PhD, PA

Those of us who have family members suffering with chronic mental illness such as schizophrenia know what a travesty HIPPA regulations are, crippling families trying to help those they are ill equipped to provide care for.  We also know the need for longer term inpatient care for some of these patients, unavailable due to the absurd notion that most of these patients are best cared for on an outpatient basis. 

Rep. Murphy, yes, a Republican, has a sensible solution to this crisis many have endured without clinical or community support.  Please, get informed and turn this legislation into a reality so many in our society need.


Shown Here:
Introduced in House (12/12/2013)

Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 - Creates in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, who shall supervise and direct the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Directs the Assistant Secretary to establish a National Mental Health Policy Laboratory to: (1) identify and implement policy changes and other trends likely to have the most significant impact on mental health services; (2) collect information from grantees; and (3) evaluate and disseminate to such grantees evidence-based practices and services delivery models, using the best available science shown to reduce program expenditures while enhancing the quality of care furnished to individuals by other such grantees.
Amends the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to require the Assistant Secretary to establish: (1) an Interagency Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee; and (2) a four-year pilot program to award up to 50 grants each year to counties, cities, mental health systems, mental health courts, and any other entities with authority under state law to implement, monitor, and oversee assisted outpatient treatment programs.
Directs the Assistant Secretary to establish a program of tele-psychiatry and primary care physician training grants to states to promote the use of qualified telehealth technology for the identification, diagnosis, mitigation, or treatment of a mental health disorder.
Directs the HHS Secretary (Secretary), in coordination with the Assistant Secretary, to award planning grants to enable up to 10 states to carry out 5-year demonstration programs to improve the provision of behavioral health services by federally qualified community behavioral health clinics.
Requires the Assistant Secretary to certify federally qualified community behavioral health clinics that meet specified criteria.
Requires the caregiver of an individual with a serious mental illness to be treated as the individual's personal representative with respect to protected health information, even though the individual has not consented to disclosure of such information to the caregiver, when the individual's service provider reasonably believes it is necessary for protected health information to be made available to the caregiver in order to protect the individual's health, safety, or welfare or the safety of one or more other individuals.
Amends the General Education Provisions Act to allow an educational agency or institution to disclose to such a caregiver the individual's education record in certain related circumstances.
Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to make available: (1) Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants for mental health programs and operations by law enforcement or corrections officers, and (2) public safety and community policing grants to provide specialized training to law enforcement officers to recognize and intervene properly with individuals who have mental illness.
Reauthorizes and revises requirements for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004.
Authorizes the Attorney General to award grants to: (1) establish or expand veterans treatment court programs; and (2) enhance the capabilities of a correctional facility to identify, screen, and treat inmates with a mental illness, as well as develop and implement post-release transition plans for them.
Requires any data prepared by or submitted to the Attorney General or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with respect to homicides, law enforcement officers killed and assaulted, or individuals killed by law enforcement officers to include data about the involvement of mental illness in such incidences, if any.
Directs the Comptroller General (GAO) to detail the cost of federal. state, or local imprisonment for persons who have serious mental illness.
Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to prohibit a state medical assistance plan from prohibiting payment for a same-day qualifying mental health service or primary care service furnished to an individual at a federally qualified community behavioral health center or a federally qualified health center on the same day as the other kind of service.
Allows states the option to provide medical assistance for inpatient psychiatric hospital services and psychiatric residential treatment facility services for individuals age 21-65.
Amends both SSA titles XIX and XVIII (Medicare) to cover prescription drugs used to treat mental health disorders.
Amends the PHSA to increase funding for the brain initiative at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Transfers responsibility for the administration of community mental health block grants to the Assistant Secretary from the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).
Revises requirements for the funding agreement under a formula block grant to a state for community mental health services to prescribe the general standard under state law for court ordered inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment as well as assisted outpatient treatment.
Requires the Assistant Secretary to evaluate the combined paperwork burden of certain community mental health centers as well as of certified federally qualified community mental health clinics.
Directs the Secretary of Education, along with the Assistant Secretary, to organize a national awareness campaign to assist secondary school students and postsecondary students in: (1) reducing the stigma associated with serious mental illness; (2) understanding how to assist an individual demonstrating signs of a serious mental illness; and (3) understanding the importance of seeking treatment from a physician, clinical psychologist, or licensed mental health professional when a student believes the student may be suffering from a serious mental illness or behavioral health disorder.
Amends the PHSA to include as health care providers any behavioral and mental health professionals, substance abuse professionals, psychiatric hospitals, certain community mental health centers (including one operated by a county behavioral health agency), and residential or outpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment facilities.
Amends SSA title XVIII (Medicare), with respect to incentives for meaningful use of certified electronic health records (EHR) technology under the pay schedule for physician's services, to include as additional eligible professionals clinical psychologists providing qualified psychologist services and clinical social workers. Subjects any additional eligible professionals, including those under a MedicareAdvantage (MA) plan, to reductions in incentive payments after a certain date for failure to be a meaningful EHR user.
Amends SSA title XIX (Medicaid) to treat as Medicaid providers the following additional Medicaid providers: (1) public and certain private hospitals that are principally psychiatric hospitals, (2) certain community mental health centers, and (3) certain residential or outpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment facilities.
Makes eligible Medicaid professionals certain clinical psychologists providing qualified psychologist services and certain clinical social workers.
Amends the PHSA to accord health care professional volunteers at community mental health centers and federally qualified community behavioral health clinics the liability protections of Public Health Service employees.
Requires the Assistant Secretary to transfer all functions and responsibilities of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality to the National Mental Health Policy Laboratory.
Revises the duties of the CMHS Director.
Reauthorizes the Secretary's authority to address priority mental health needs of regional and national significance.
Amends the PHSA to reauthorize and revise requirements for a youth interagency research, training, and technical assistance center to prevent suicides (the Suicide Prevention Technical Assistance Center). Expands the program's focus from youth suicides to suicides among all ages, particularly among groups that are at high risk for suicide. Repeals authority for grants to establish research, training, and technical assistance centers related to mental health, substance abuse and the justice system.
Reauthorizes a program of grants for the development of state or tribal youth suicide early intervention and prevention strategies.
Reauthorizes and revises a grant program to enhance services for students with mental health or substance use disorders at institutions of higher education. Requires the Secretary (who currently is merely authorized), acting through the CMHS Director, to award grants to enhance such services and to develop best practices for the delivery of such services. Permits grant funds to be used for the provision of such services to students and to employ appropriately trained staff. Requires the Secretary to give special consideration to applications for grants that describe programs that demonstrate the greatest need for new or additional mental and substance use disorder services and the greatest potential for replication.
Requires the Assistant Secretary, before making a grant to a public entity for comprehensive community mental health services to children with a serious emotional disturbance, to consult with the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to ensure that the grant recipient will use evidence-based practices. Reauthorizes funding for such grants.
Repeals current authority of the Secretary to carry out directly or through grants, contracts or cooperative agreements with public entities a program to assist local communities in developing ways to assist children in dealing with violence.
Reauthorizes the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Amends the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act to reduce corresponding funding for protection and advocacy systems for mentally ill individuals.
Prohibits lobbying by any such systems accepting federal funds to protect and advocate the rights of individuals with mental illness.
Prohibits the SAMHSA Administrator from hosting or sponsoring any conference that will not be primarily administered by SAMHSA without giving at least 90 days prior notice to specified congressional committees.
Prohibits the SAMHSA Administrator also from establishing (and the Secretary from delegating to the Administrator responsibility for) any program or project not explicitly authorized or required by statute. Terminates by the end of FY2014 any SAMHSA program or project not so explicitly authorized or required.