Action Alert

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NAMI Minnesota
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Saint Paul, MN 55114

phone: 651-645-2948
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Action Alerts

ACTION ALERT - April 12, 2014
The Legislature is taking their Easter/Passover break during the week of April 14. Mental health advocates need to contact them during this time and attend any listening sessions or meetings in their districts. The House and Senate have passed their respective budget bills and both make critical investments in mental health. A conference committee has been appointed and they will work out the differences between the two bills starting on April 23rd.

We need the mental health community to contact their legislators before April 23rd and urge their state senator and representative to keep the highest amount of funding for health and human services and to specifically support/fund the following:
• Improving mobile mental health crisis intervention services so we can intervene earlier and more effectively and adding Peer Specialists to the teams.
• Restoring over $1 million of last year’s cuts to the adult mental health grants to continue Intensive Community Rehab Services (ICRS) services, which is an especially vital service for Greater Minnesota.
• Requiring contingency planning and notice when mental health providers are at risk of closing to ensure people do not lose access to their medical records and can continue to receive critical mental health services.
• Requiring counties to provide a 90 day notice before terminating a contract with a mental health center or community support program.
• Developing an online training on the Civil Commitment Act to ensure the law is being applied consistently across the state.
• Funding for the Homeless Youth Act.
• Clarifying and strengthening the law on the use of seclusion and restraints in schools and providing $250,000 to support students subject to a high use of prone restraints.
Be sure to tell both your Senator and your Representative that you’re a NAMI member and why this issues matters to you (live with an illness, family member, provider, etc.).

Not sure who represents you? Look them up here.

We need you to call or email them ASAP! Also, keep an eye out for events legislators are holding in your community, and if you see them around town, be sure to talk with them. Here are the events we’ve learned about so far (thanks to Lutheran Social Services for compiling this list!):

Sen. Kent Eken (04)/ Rep. Paul Marquart (04B)
• Detroit Lakes: Monday, April 14th at 9:00 a.m. – Detroit Lakes City Hall
Sen. Dave Senjem (25)/Rep. Duane Quam (25A)
• Mantorville: Monday, April 14th at 7:30 pm – Mantorville City Hall
• Dodge Center: Tuesday, April 15th at 6:00 p.m. – Dodge Center Community Center
Sen. Ann Rest (45)
• Minneapolis/New Hope: May 21st at 6:30 p.m. – Rockford Road Library
Rep. Ron Erhardt (49A)/Sen. Melisa Franzen (49) Town Hall
• Edina: April 21 at 6:00 pm – Edina Community Center (Room 351)

ACTION ALERT - March 23, 2014:
Contact House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee Members and Tell Them to Invest in Important Mental Health Initiatives.

NAMI has also learned that there will not be separate budget bills as is typically done. Instead there will be one appropriations bill that will contain funding for all the different categories such as education, health and human services, housing, etc. This makes it more difficult for NAMI to advocate for our funding pieces. The legislators that we need to target are now different than they would have been had the two bodies kept separate bills and conference committees. NAMI members need to take action this week and contact these new members.

Please call (or email) your legislator if he or she is listed below and let the chairs of the committee, Lyndon Carlson and Dick Cohen, know your concerns as well. We have listed the members with their district numbers, city where they leave and then their contact information. Urge them to invest in the initiatives listed below. You can say “I am a NAMI member and I urge you to support spending in these areas to help children and adults with mental illnesses. (Then list the items below). Our system is very fragile and we need your help.”
• Appropriating $35,000 to develop an online training on the civil commitment act to ensure it is being applied consistently across the state.
• Funding to make our mobile mental health crisis teams more responsive and effective by coming out earlier and engaging people to access treatment voluntarily and by including Peer Support Specialists on mobile crisis teams (we don’t have a fiscal note yet so don’t know the amount)
• Appropriating $250,000 (in the Education budget) to help schools figure out what to do for students who have experienced a high use of prone restraints.
• Appropriating at least some money to improve access to supportive housing.
In addition there does not appear to be any move to remove the word “constant” from the eligibility criteria for the new PCA program, CFSS. Without this change, many people with mental illnesses will not be eligible for a CADI waiver.

To make these proposals a reality, we need members of the House and Senate committees that are in charge of budgeting to hear from their constituents that these initiatives should be included in the supplemental budget. Make your calls THIS WEEK. We are a grassroots movement and we need you to make your voice heard! We are more powerful together.

House Ways and Means Committee
• 45A, Crystal. Rep Lyndon Carlson (Chair): 651-296-4255;
• 5B, Balsam. Rep Tom Anzelc: 651-296-4936;
• 58A, Lakeville. Rep Mary Liz Holberg: 651-296-6926;
• 35A, Anoka. Rep Jim Abeler: 651-296-1729;
• 44A, Plymouth. Rep Sarah Anderson: 651-296-5511;
• 52B, Inver Grove Heights. Rep Joe Atkins: 651-296-4192;
• 55A, Shakopee. Rep Michael Beard: 651-296-8872;
• 19B, Mankato. Rep Kathy Brynaert: 651-296-3248;
• 62A, Minneapolis. Rep Karen Clark: 651-296-0294;
• 28B, Preston. Rep Greg Davids: 651-296-9278;
• 63A, Minneapolis. Rep Jim Davnie: 651-296-0173;
• 38B, Dellwood. Rep Matt Dean: 651-296-3018;
• 39A, Forest Lake. Rep Bob Dettmer: 651-296-4124;
• 23A, Fairmont. Rep Bob Gunther: 651-296-3240;
• 31B, Cedar. Rep Tom Hackbarth: 651-296-2439;
• 66A, St Paul. Rep Alice Hausman: 651-296-3824;
• 40B, Brooklyn Center. Rep Debra Hilstrom: 651-296-3709;
• 61A, Minneapolis. Rep Frank Hornstein: 651-296-9281;
• 7A, Duluth. Rep Thomas Huntley: 651-296-2228;
• 60B, Minneapolis. Rep Phyllis Kahn: 651-296-4257;
• 50B, Bloomington. Rep Ann Lenczewski: 651-296-4218;
• 48B, Eden Prairie. Rep Jenifer Loon: 651-296-7449;
• 67A, St Paul. Rep Tim Mahoney: 651-296-4277;
• 65B, St Paul. Rep Carlos Mariani: 651-296-9714;
• 4B, Dilworth. Rep Paul Marquart: 651-296-6829;
• 54B, Hastings. Rep Denny McNamara: 651-296-3135;
• 59A, Minneapolis. Rep Joe Mullery: 651-296-4262;
• 8A, Fergus Falls. Rep Bud Nornes: 651-296-4946;
• 64B, St Paul. Rep Michael Paymar: 651-296-4199;
• 28A, Winona. Rep Gene Pelowski: 651-296-8637;
• 27B, Austin. Rep Jeanne Poppe: 651-296-4193;
• 46B, Hopkins. Rep Steve Simon: 651-296-9889;
• 63B, Minneapolis. Rep Jean Wagenius: 651-296-4200;
• 20A, Belle Plaine. Rep Kelby Woodard: 651-296-7065;

Senate Finance Committee
• 64, St Paul. Richard Cohen (Chair) 651-296-5931;
• 59, Minneapolis. Bobby Joe Champion; 651-296-9246;
• 13, Paynesville. Michelle L. Fischbach; 651-296-2084;
• 29, Buffalo. Bruce D. Anderson; 651-296-5981
• 44, Minnetonka.Terri E. Bonoff; 651-296-4314;
• 61, Minneapolis. D. Scott Dibble; 651-296-4191;
• 41, Columbia Heights. Barb Goodwin; 651-296-4334;
• 8, Alexandria. Bill Ingebrigtsen; 651-297-8063 ;
• 46, St Louis Park. Ron Latz; 651-297-8065;
• 34, Maple Grove. Warren Limmer; 651-296-2159;
• 11, Kerrick. Tony Lourey; 651-296-0293;
• 28, Winona. Jeremy R. Miller; 651-296-5649;
• 18, Hutchinson. Scott J. Newman; 651-296-4131;
• 32, Cambridge. Sean R. Nienow; 651-296-5419;
• 65, St Paul. Sandra L. Pappas; 651-296-1802;
• 14, St. Cloud. John C. Pederson; 651-296-6455;
• 5, Grand Rapids. Tom Saxhaug; 651-296-4136;
• 54, Newport. Katie Sieben; 651-297-8060;
• 1, Plummer. LeRoy A. Stumpf; 651-296-8660;
• 6, Chisholm. David J. Tomassoni; 651-296-8017;
• 12, Elbow Lake. Torrey N. Westrom; 651-296-3826;
• 43, Maplewood. Charles W. Wiger; 651-296-6820;

Action Alert - March 14, 2014

Tell House Ways and Means Committee to Increase the HHS Budget Target in Order to Invest in Mental Health this Session!

This afternoon, leaders in the Minnesota House of Representatives released their proposal for how much they plan to spend in each area of government (known as budget targets). Despite a more than $1 billion budget surplus, they plan to spend to allocate only $75 million to health and human services, which will be used almost exclusively for a funding increase for home health care workers and nursing homes. While those projects are important, health and human services, and mental health in particular, has been cut by tens of millions of dollars over the past few years and now is the time to begin rebuilding our fragile mental health system! The budget targets will be finalized by the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday and they need to hear from you today and this weekend about the importance of investing in our mental health system, this session!

If your legislators serves on the House Ways and Means Committee (see below), call them today and say “I am a NAMI member and I (live with a mental illness, have a family member with a mental illness, work in the mental health field). Funding for the mental health system was cut during the recession and people with mental illnesses were negatively impacted by the changes to the PCA and CADI Waiver program. With the economy doing better, please increase funding to our mental health system, particularly for the PCA program, crisis services and housing supports for people with mental illnesses. Please increase the health and human services budget target!”

Here are the Representatives who serve on the Ways and Means Committee. Please call them if they are your legislator:

• Dist. 45A, Crystal, Representative Lyndon Carlson (Chair): 651-296-4255
• Dist. 5B, Balsam Township, Representative Tom Anzelc: 651-296-4936
• Dist. 58A, Lakeville, Representative Mary Liz Holberg: 651-296-6926
• Dist. 35A, Anoka, Representative Jim Abeler: 651-296-1729
• Dist. 45A, Plymouth, Representative Sarah Anderson: 651-296-5511
• Dist. 52B, Inver Grove Heights, Representative Joe Atkins: 651-296-4192
• Dist. 55A, Shakopee, Representative Michael Beard: 651-296-8872
• Dist. 19B, Mankato, Representative Kathy Brynaert: 651-296-3248
• Dist. 62A, Mpls, Representative Karen Clark: 651-296-0294
• Dist. 28B, Preston, Representative Greg Davids: 651-296-9278
• Dist. 63A, Mpls, Representative Jim Davnie: 651-296-0173
• Dist. 38B, Dellwood, Representative Matt Dean: 651-296-3018
• Dist. 39A, Forest Lake, Representative Bob Dettmer: 651-296-4124
• Dist. 23A, Fairmont, Representative Bob Gunther: 651-296-3240
• Dist. 31B, Cedar, Representative Tom Hackbarth: 651-296-2439
• Dist. 66A, St Paul, Representative Alice Hausman: 651-296-3824
• Dist. 40B, Brooklyn Center, Representative Debra Hilstrom: 651-296-3709
• Dist. 61A, Mpls, Representative Frank Hornstein: 651-296-9281
• Dist. 7A, Duluth, Representative Thomas Huntley: 651-296-2228
• Dist. 60B, Mpls, Representative Phyllis Kahn: 651-296-4257
• Dist. 50B, Bloomington, Representative Ann Lenczewski: 651-296-4218
• Dist. 48B, Eden Prairie, Representative Jenifer Loon: 651-296-7449
• Dist. 67A, St Paul, Representative Tim Mahoney: 651-296-4277
• Dist. 55B, St Paul, Representative Carlos Mariani: 651-296-9714
• Dist. 4B, Dilworth, Representative Paul Marquart: 651-296-6829
• Dist. 54B, Hastings, Representative Denny McNamara: 651-296-3135
• Dist. 59A, Mpls, Representative Joe Mullery: 651-296-4262
• Dist. 8A, Fergus Falls, Representative Bud Nornes: 651-296-4946
• Dist. 64B, St Paul, Representative Michael Paymar: 651-296-4199
• Dist. 28A, Winona, Representative Gene Pelowski: 651-296-8637
• Dist. 27B, Austin, Representative Jeanne Poppe: 651-296-4193
• Dist. 46B, Hopkins, Representative Steve Simon: 651-296-9889
• Dist. 63B, Mpls, Representative Jean Wagenius: 651-296-4200
• Dist. 20A, Belle Plaine, Representative Kelby Woodard: 651-296-7065

Thank you and we're counting on you to raise your voices!

Action Alert - March 9, 2014:

Tell Governor and Legislative Leaders to invest in mental health this session!

Despite a more than $1 billion budget surplus, the Governor’s budget does not include sufficient funding to continue investing in Minnesota’s mental health system. Legislative leaders are beginning to set their budget priorities as well and they all need to hear that investing in our state’s mental health system needs to be a priority.

During the recession, health and human services and mental health in particular, faced tens of millions of dollars in budget cuts and now is the time to begin rebuilding our fragile and under-resourced mental health system. Contact the Governor’s office as well as House and Senate Leadership this week and tell them we need to ensure there is enough money in the health and human services budget to invest in Minnesota’s mental health system this session! Here are some examples of the investments we are hoping to see:

Increasing supportive housing options for people with mental illnesses;
Making our mobile crisis teams more responsive and effective;
Modifying eligibility criteria for Community First Services and Supports (CFSS), which will replace the PCA program, so that people with mental illnesses can access it.

Here is the contact information for the Governor and Legislative Leadership:

Governor Dayton: 651-201-3400
Representative Thissen (House Speaker): 651-296-5375
Representative Murphy (Majority Leader): 651-296-8799
Representative Carlson (Ways and Means Chair): 651-296-4255
Senator Bakk (Majority Leader): 651-296-8881
Senator Cohen (Finance Committee Chair): 651-296-5931

NAMI Minnesota Action Alert – March 2, 2014

Action Alert: Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D Plans have historically been required to include on their preferred drug lists all or almost all psychiatric medications because personal choice and clinician’s judgment are important in decisions about what medications are taken. The proposed rule would limit the availability of anti-depressant medications in 2015 and limit the availability of anti-psychotic medications in 2016. Please submit your comments online by March 7, 2014. Click here for sample comments (please change the organization and signature). You can also help us get to 10,000 signatures on a petition to tell U.S. Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius to protect access to these crucial medications in Medicare Part D. Limiting access to medications for people who live with mental illness would threaten treatment and lives. Click here to sign a petition.

UPDATE: Advocates Halt Proposal to Limit Medication Choices- Stakeholder feedback helped shelve a proposal that would have limited choices on psychiatric medications under Medicaid Part D. The decision not to go forward with the proposal was announced March 10.  Find story, here.

Action Alert: Tell Legislators to Invest in Minnesota’s Underfunded Mental Health System
Now that the February forecast has been released, the House and Senate can begin work on their supplemental budgets. To begin this process, each body will need to determine how much money they are willing to spend in each area of government. We need to ensure that the legislature invests in health and human services this session and mental health in particular.

Last legislative session, both the House and Senate chose to cut money from health and human services but still managed to make a number of important investments in our mental health system. Despite this progress, there is still much work to be done. Minnesota’s mental health system remains woefully under-resourced and many children and adults with mental illnesses are simply unable to access basic services and supports that they need. Recent media reports about people with mental illnesses ending up in emergency rooms, jails, or homeless, point to the need to continue to improve and expand Minnesota’s mental health system.

Contact both your State Representative and Senator today and urge them to continue investing in Minnesota’s mental health system this session. Here are some examples of the investments that would make a huge difference in people’s lives:

• $7 million to increase the availability of housing and supportive housing services for people with mental illnesses.
• $3 million to continue to expand our state’s mobile crisis response teams
• Several million dollars to change the eligibility criteria for Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) – which will replace the personal care assistance (PCA) program –so that people with mental illnesses will be able to access the program.
• $35,000 to develop an online training on the Civil Commitment statute (253B) to ensure the law is being applied consistently across the state.
• $1 million to increase funding for respite care.

Not sure who your legislator is? Look them up here. Use your own words but be sure and say that you are a NAMI member and mention any specifics in terms of services and supports that you or a family member (or client/patient) need.