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NAMI Minnesota
800 Transfer Road, #31
Saint Paul, MN 55114

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
(1-888-626-4435)
fax: 651-645-7379

email: namihelps@namimn.org

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NAMI Minnesota's 2017 Legislative Issues/Goals

NAMI Minnesota champions justice, dignity, and respect for all people affected by mental illnesses. Through education, support, and advocacy we strive to eliminate the pervasive stigma of mental illnesses, effect positive changes in the mental health system, and increase the public and professional understanding of mental illnesses.

To this end, NAMI advocates for policies that increase access to appropriate treatment and supports that enable children and adults to achieve their hopes and dreams. The NAMI Minnesota Board adopts the following legislative goals for 2017.

Adult Mental Health System

Adults with mental illnesses need access to programs and supports that are not necessarily funded by insurance. NAMI will work to:

- Strengthen adult mental health infrastructure grants by dedicating some of the funds to key programs and developing outcome measures.
- Develop programs that more appropriately support parents with mental illnesses.
- Make Serious Mental Illness (SMI) the standard for eligibility rather than Serious and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI).
- Fund evidence-based practices to meet the mental health needs of older adults.
- Increase funding for First Episode Programs to add six intensive programs for people experiencing their first psychotic and add that they will serve youth experiencing their first manic or depressive episode.
- Increase and improve treatment at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.
- Expand use of certified peer specialists throughout the mental health system.
- Eliminate host county contracts for Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS).
- Establish Medical Assistance (MA) coverage for “clubhouse model” community support programs.
- Assess and monitor the quality of corporate adult foster care programs.
- Increase the number of visits before a diagnostic assessment is required.
- Expand intensive outpatient payment rates to mother/baby programs.
- Require the Supreme Court to conduct a study of state civil commitment laws and procedures and form a task force to make recommendations to current statute.
- Allow parents who are on child only MFIP to receive childcare subsidies while obtaining mental health treatment and when they are not doing well.

Children’s Mental Health System

Children should have access to evidence-based treatments and support so that they can do well in school, home and the community. Recognizing that there are severe shortages in mental health professionals and that the outcomes for children with mental illnesses are poor, NAMI will work to:

- Embed mental health professionals in other venues such as youth shelters, day care centers, colleges, etc. Fund transportation for some children in the summer.
- Address issues with the intersection of child protection and intensive children’s mental health services
- Change requirements for respite care so children are not required to be on Targeted Case Management (TCM).
- Create a pilot project to provide a high level child care program for children who have been kicked out of other child care programs.
- Shift placement authority/funding responsibility for children’s residential treatment from counties to the state.
- Implement recommendations for crisis homes for children and youth.
- Fund early childhood evidence-based treatments, mental health programs and consultation.
- Increase the number of visits before a diagnostic assessment is required or use an at-risk code.
- Fund multigenerational mental health programs under children’s mental health grants.

Education

Children with mental illnesses have high suspension and drop-out rates, poor transition planning and are more likely to experience the use of seclusion and restraints. NAMI Minnesota will work to:

- Expand and continue Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
- Decrease the use of seclusion and restraints in schools and provide funding to support students with the highest needs.
- Streamline current care and treatment education laws so that there are not barriers, especially transportation, to children and youth accessing the treatment that they need and so that they obtain the education needed to stay on track.
- Improve transition services for youth with mental illnesses between school and college or employment (TIP model).
- View truancy as a school failure issue, not discipline issue and address mental health concerns.
- Decrease the school to prison pipeline, including reliance on zero-tolerance policies and juvenile justice system referrals.
- Support recommendations from the School Resource Officer (SRO) report, including mental health training for SROs.
- Increase the number of school support personnel.
- Support requiring alternatives to suspension especially for students in grades K-3.
- Support many of the recommendations developed by the Discipline Task Force.
- Allow any mental health professional to verify an ADD/ADHD diagnosis for special education.
- Increase school-linked mental health grants.

Employment

People with mental illnesses have the highest unemployment rate, yet employment is an evidence-based practice, meaning it helps people recover. Unfortunately, programs that are designed specifically for people with mental illnesses are underfunded and serve a limited amount of people. NAMI will work to:

- Expand Individual Placement and Support (IPS) employment programs with the goal of statewide coverage.
- Increase percentage of individuals who are gainfully employed.
- Require DEED, with input from stakeholders, to look at all employment support programs and require better accommodations for persons with mental illnesses.

Health Care

A disproportionate number of people with mental illnesses depend upon the Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare program for access to basic mental health treatment and especially for community supports.

- Ensure full access to needed medications by addressing prior authorization issues.
- Remove the word “constant” from the criteria for accessing the Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) program and PCA services so that people with a serious mental illness can access this program.
- Continue to increase quality and integration in the treatment of co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illnesses and encourage expansion of Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT).
- Increase Medical Assistance (MA) income and asset standards for people on the program due to a disability.
- Eliminate co-payments for smoking cessation products, limits on duration and increase access to quantity and dosage levels that meet the needs of people with mental illnesses.
-Implement mental health parity.
- Revise long-term disability policies to create parity for people with mental illnesses.

Housing

People need safe affordable housing in order to focus on recovery. NAMI will work to:

- Increase funding for Bridges Housing program.
- Fund supportive housing grants.
- Support GRH/MSA-Housing Assistance reform to expand housing options and improve quality.
- Develop housing options for youth/young adults with a mental illness.
- Allow a response to a mental health crisis to be not counted as police call in reference to city licensing of apartments.

Juvenile & Criminal Justice

Too many children and adults who live with a mental illness end up in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. NAMI will work to:

- Support law enforcement training on mental health.
- Increase the use of jail diversion programs and mental health courts.
- Address restrictive jail formularies by changing psychotropic drug requirements for prisoners with mental illness.
- Ensure that all juvenile courts operate using the principles of mental health courts.
- Change the M’Naghten Standard/insanity defense.
- Increase access to mental health services in the prisons and jails.
-Increase the number of mental health release planners.
- Fund mental health release planners at Red Wing.
- Require mental health training for probation officers.
- Require mental health training for 911 operators.
- Support early juvenile record expungement for youth whose involvement in the juvenile justice system was for reasons related to living with a mental illness.
- Require mental health assessments by mental health professionals for inmates in jails within a certain amount of time.
- Establish a mental health ombudsman for jails and prisons.
- Require discharge and transition planning from jails.
- Require a certain number of days of medication be provided to a person when they leave the jail.
- Require access to ITV in jails to ensure access to mental health professionals.
-Restrict the use of solitary confinement in prisons.-Fund community competency restoration programs.

Mental Health

NAMI Minnesota will support changes to ensure children and adults with mental illnesses have access to needed mental health services where and when they need it. NAMI will work to:

- Overhaul the case management law to improve access and quality and ensure case management addresses primary health.

Mental Health Workforce

Implement recommendations of the Mental Health Workforce to address mental health workforce shortages:
- Ensure access to and affordability of supervisory hours by creating a funding stream to assist people in obtaining mental health professional licensure.
- Require all third party payers/commercial insurers to reimburse in the same way that Medical Assistance (MA) does for supervision/internships.
- Establish criteria and a payment mechanism to incentivize mental health settings committed to providing students with a practicum experience that features evidence-based treatment interventions.
- Continue to expand the Minnesota Health Professionals Loan Forgiveness program funding to mental health professionals from diverse ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds.

Voting & Elections

  People with mental illnesses are vastly underrepresented at the polls. NAMI will work
  to:

- Prevent and remove barriers to people with mental illnesses exercising their right to participate in elections.
- Partner with the Second Chance Coalition to continue to advocate for voter rights.

Updated September 2016