Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

News

Welcome to our News page for organization news, articles and other information.  Please sign in to post comments.  Members are welcome to submit articles or announcements from their own organizations for posting on our News page.  Simply email us and include "Post to Website" in the memo line.  There may be some delay, but we will post your news as soon as possible.

The Kansas Mental Health Coalition retains the right to edit or restrict all content, including news items and comments.

  • January 09, 2017 10:29 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Kansas Legislature convened for the 2017 Legislative Session today, January 9, in Topeka.

    MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW:  March 15, 2017 – Mental Health Advocacy Day   The schedule and registration information will be sent in a separate message.

    Click to see the 2017 Session Planner here. This calendar shows the days the Legislature will be in session and the deadlines for bill introductions and passage.  It is subject to change.  Legislative leaders expect to have a longer legislative session this year, and will face issues such as major tax changes, Medicaid expansion, and a new school finance formula.  The task will be challenging, with revenues $340 million short for the fiscal year ending in June.  Most of the newly elected legislators ran on the promise to reform the income tax reductions for business owners that were passed in 2012 and 2013 – but the Governor is opposed.  

    The Governor’s State of the State speech will be 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 10, and the House and Senate budget committees will receive the Governor’s Budget Proposal Wednesday morning.  Shawn Sullivan, Budget Director, will present the report to the House Appropriations and Taxation Committees at 9:00 a.m. and Senate Ways and Means Committee at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.  That report will be posted at the Governor's Budget website at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday - http://budget.ks.gov .  It is expected to contain a combination of budget cuts and revenue changes.

    It is important to take a moment each Friday to look at the House and Senate calendars posted for the following week at www.kslegislature.org to see what public hearings and meetings are scheduled for the following week.  This is especially important if you are watching specific issues of interest.  A better way to be prepared to act is to contact the committee secretary (listed below each committee name in the calendar) and ask IF and WHEN a bill or issue is to be discussed.  Typically, if you wish to testify or submit written comments for a public hearing on a bill, you will need to sign up with the secretary and turn in your testimony or comments at least 24 hours in advance.  Each committee’s rules are different and secretaries may have different requirements.  Unfortunately, there will also be hearings that pop up in the middle of the week with very little advance notice.  Committee schedules are also posted on the walls outside the House and Senate chambers and updated when changes occur.


  • September 09, 2016 10:05 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Mental Health Matters - Now Is the Time to Reach Out to Candidates

    This the time when current legislators and those who are running for office are most engaged in listening to the people in their communities.  Please reach out to the candidates in your local races and share your interest in mental health issues.  

    Click here to view a list of 2016 Election Candidates.


  • May 02, 2016 6:30 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    House Passes Budget and Adjourns around 1:30 a.m.- Senate Works Past 3:20 a.m. in the early hours of Monday, May 2nd 

    The Kansas House approved the budget bill (House Sub for SB 249) at 1:05 a.m. after a little more than an hour of debate. The vote was 63-59.  They adjourned shortly after.  The 2016 Session is being touted as the shortest in 42 years by the House Speaker's Office.  That assumed the Senate would also approve the budget - which seemed uncertain around 3:00 a.m.  It was not clear what they would do if the votes were not there, since the House of Representatives had already gone home, planning to return June 1 for Sine Die.

    The Senate was placed on a Call (which would require every senator to be present and vote) because the budget bill was failing on a vote of 17 - 21.  Ultimately, senators began to switch their votes and it passed 22-18.

    The budget agreement includes all of the Governor's Budget Amendments except the three budget balancing options.  This includes the added money for the State Mental Health Hospitals.  See the Governor's Budget Amendments here.

    Rather than selecting one of the three options to cut programs, the conference committee instead elected to leave the difficult decisions about cutting programs and agencies to the Governor - to the tune of something around $200 million.  If he uses his Option #3 - that will mean 3% to 5% budget cuts to agencies including the KDADS, KDHE, DCF, etc.  The plan also cuts Regents Universities $17.6 million, sweeps $185 million from state highway funds, and counts on $10.6 million from implementing step therapy for Medicaid medications.

    A few items of interest added in the conference committee include:

    • Added $319,000 from the State General Fund to keep caseload savings within the Department of Corrections for evidence based juvenile justice programs for FY 2017.  (Preserving savings from SB 367)
    • Added language that any superintendent or physician newly appointed and any new staff, institution personnel, or employee shall be unclassified and Larned State Hospital and Osawatomie State Hospital shall not be outsourced or privatized without Legislative approval. (From SB 460)
    • Add language that any request for proposal to provide services and management at Larned State Hospital or Osawatomie State Hospital in FY 2016 must include provisions for electronic medical records, with patient data not hosted offshore, and any selection of entity providing services or management shall be approved by the Legislature.
    • Add language directing no expenditures can be made during FY 2016 and FY 2017 to proceed with integration of the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services waivers if the proposed integration is planned to occur prior to FY 2019. In addition, include language requiring reports to the Legislature during FY 2017.
    • Add language directing that an amount of State General Fund monies equivalent to the amount received in Tobacco Settlement Funds in excess of all expenditures and transfers made from the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund be deposited in the Kansas Public Employee Retirement Trust Fund for the purposes of repaying the lapsed amount of KPERS employer contributions plus 8.0 percent per annum for FY 2017 and FY 2018.  (SB 249 would enable the state to delay a $96 million payment to the state’s pension fund until 2018, giving the state more flexibility to get through the current budget year, which ends in June.)
    • Add language that exempts from the Governor's special allotment authority any item of appropriation for any state agency or school district educating students in K-12 for FY 2016 and FY 2017. 


  • May 02, 2016 3:52 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    2016 Kansas Legislative Session 

    Step Therapy / HOPE Act Passes 

    The Step Therapy / HOPE Act (CCR on H Sub for SB 402) passed the House 79-43 around midnight Sunday, May 1st, and the Senate 27-13 after 1:15 a.m.  Read the description here.   See the notes here.  Remember - notes are a summary and not a transcript.

    All in all, the final language adopted in the conference committee report was significantly better than what had been passed by the Senate in February.  It includes six patient protection amendments proposed by the House conferees on the Health Conference Committee.  Ultimately, the success or harm of the program will depend on the care exercised by the Drug Utilization Review Committee and the Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee.  The Kansas Mental Health Coalition continued to oppose the bill because it did not exempt mental health medications.

    House Passes Budget and Adjourns around 1:30 a.m.- Senate Works Past 3:20 a.m. in the early hours of Monday, May 2nd 

    The Kansas House approved the budget bill (House Sub for SB 249) at 1:05 a.m. after a little more than an hour of debate. The vote was 63-59.  They adjourned shortly after.  The 2016 Session is being touted as the shortest in 42 years by the House Speaker's Office.  That assumed the Senate would also approve the budget - which seemed uncertain around 3:00 a.m.  It was not clear what they would do if the votes were not there, since the House of Representatives had already gone home, planning to return June 1 for Sine Die.

    The Senate was placed on a Call (which would require every senator to be present and vote) because the budget bill was failing on a vote of 17 - 21.  Ultimately, senators began to switch their votes and it passed 22-18.

    The budget agreement includes all of the Governor's Budget Amendments except the three budget balancing options.  This includes the added money for the State Mental Health Hospitals.  See the Governor's Budget Amendments here.

    Rather than selecting one of the three options to cut programs, the conference committee instead elected to leave the difficult decisions about cutting programs and agencies to the Governor - to the tune of something around $200 million.  If he uses his Option #3 - that will mean 3% to 5% budget cuts to agencies including the KDADS, KDHE, DCF, etc.  The plan also cuts Regents Universities $17.6 million, sweeps $185 million from state highway funds, and counts on $10.6 million from implementing step therapy for Medicaid medications.

    A few items of interest added in the conference committee include:

    • Added $319,000 from the State General Fund to keep caseload savings within the Department of Corrections for evidence based juvenile justice programs for FY 2017.  (Preserving savings from SB 367)
    • Added language that any superintendent or physician newly appointed and any new staff, institution personnel, or employee shall be unclassified and Larned State Hospital and Osawatomie State Hospital shall not be outsourced or privatized without Legislative approval. (From SB 460)
    • Add language that any request for proposal to provide services and management at Larned State Hospital or Osawatomie State Hospital in FY 2016 must include provisions for electronic medical records, with patient data not hosted offshore, and any selection of entity providing services or management shall be approved by the Legislature.
    • Add language directing no expenditures can be made during FY 2016 and FY 2017 to proceed with integration of the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services waivers if the proposed integration is planned to occur prior to FY 2019. In addition, include language requiring reports to the Legislature during FY 2017.
    • Add language directing that an amount of State General Fund monies equivalent to the amount received in Tobacco Settlement Funds in excess of all expenditures and transfers made from the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund be deposited in the Kansas Public Employee Retirement Trust Fund for the purposes of repaying the lapsed amount of KPERS employer contributions plus 8.0 percent per annum for FY 2017 and FY 2018.  (SB 249 would enable the state to delay a $96 million payment to the state’s pension fund until 2018, giving the state more flexibility to get through the current budget year, which ends in June.)
    • Add language that exempts from the Governor's special allotment authority any item of appropriation for any state agency or school district educating students in K-12 for FY 2016 and FY 2017. 


  • May 02, 2016 2:04 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Step Therapy / HOPE Act Passes 

    The Step Therapy / HOPE Act (CCR on H Sub for SB 402) passed the House 79-43 around midnight Sunday, May 1st, and the Senate 27-13 after 1:15 a.m.  Read the description here.   See the notes here.  Remember - notes are a summary and not a transcript.

    All in all, the final language adopted in the conference committee report was significantly better than what had been passed by the Senate in February.  It includes six patient protection amendments proposed by the House conferees on the Health Conference Committee.  Ultimately, the success or harm of the program will depend on the care exercised by the Drug Utilization Review Committee and the Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee.  The Kansas Mental Health Coalition continued to oppose the bill because it did not exempt mental health medications.


  • April 21, 2016 6:26 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)
    Governor's Budget Amendments

    Governor's Budget Amendment #1 (includes three budget balancing options) is available here.

    The GBAs were adopted by both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee today.  Neither committee debated the three options for balancing the budget proposed by the Governor.

    The committee met jointly this morning to hear the report of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group and to hear the Governor's Budget Amendments.  The committees met separately this afternoon and reviewed the Omnibus Budget Items (linked here) - budget issues that remain unresolved, and the Consensus Caseloads Report (linked here).  The full Legislature returns next Wednesday, April 27, to develop their final budget recommendations and vote on the many bills that remain in conference committees.

    Governor's Budget Amendment highlights -

    • $3,855,852 million to continue the Osawatomie State Hospital Diversion Program - providing private beds to supplement the reduced beds at OSH.  The Governor had provided a GBA in 2015 of $3.45 million, which did not last the full year and had to be supplemented within the agency.  (KVC Prairie Ridge program)
    • $1,298,537 to increase pay at Osawatomie State Hospital in FY 17 - 10% increase to Registered Nurses and 12% increase to Mental Health Technicians as per salary study.
    • $450,000 to increase pay at Larned State Hospital in FY 17 - 2.5% to Mental Health Technicians as per salary study.  (Have previously added funds for nurses and clinical staff)
    • $9,503,982 million to pay for lost federal Medicare and DSH payments at OSH due to CMS decertification and costs of recertification - ($5,905,488) offset leaves $3,598,494.  Expect to spend $2.3 m on recertification and staffing plus $1.2 m on consultant contract. 
    • $1,896,018 million to replace funds from withheld federal DSH payments at LSH due to incorrect former reimbursements that included SPTP patients
    • $1.1 million to offer raises to Social Workers at DCF if they switch from classified to unclassified personnel
    • multiple 
    • assumes $10.6 million savings projected from passage of SB 341 Medicaid Step Therapy - bill has not passed
    • assumes passage of KBA bill that has been hung up on STAR bond language.
    • lapses savings from closing YRC beds from the passage of SB 367 Juvenile Justice Reform - research and revisors staff does not agree with agency about how to implement "lockbox" provisions to save those funds for the program.  House Appropriations Committee took action to preserve those funds for KDOC, but Senate did not act.

    Neither committee took action on the Governor's recommended budget balancing options.

    *****************************************************************************

    Governor's Budget Balancing Options:  (From the GBA memo)

    In order to balance the FY 2016 and FY 2017 budgets, I offer the following three choices to the 2016 Legislature:  

    Option One Governor’s Allotment Authority The Governor would use his special allotment authority to reduce most of the remaining sales tax going into the State Highway Fund. This would transfer $70.0 million to the State General Fund in FY 2016 and $115.0 million in FY 2017. 

    The Governor would also carry forward into FY 2017 the 3.0 percent reduction made to Universities in FY 2016, which would be $17.7 million in reduced expenditures. 

    Legislative Approval Required 

    In option one; the state could securitize future tobacco settlement payments in excess of $42.0 million for an estimated one-time revenue infusion of approximately $158.0 million in FY 2017. Children’s programs currently financed through the Children’s Initiatives Fund would continue to receive funding of $42.0 million per year. Legislative approval to securitize future tobacco settlement payments would be provided to the Governor through a budget proviso. 

    Option Two Governor’s Allotment Authority The Governor would use his special allotment authority to reduce most of the remaining sales tax going into the State Highway Fund. This would transfer $70.0 million to the State General Fund in FY 2016 and $115.0 million in FY 2017. 

    The Governor would also carry forward into FY 2017 the 3.0 percent reduction made to Universities in FY 2016, which would be $17.7 million in reduced expenditures. 

    The Governor would also utilize the special allotment authority to reduce expenditures or transfer $25.0 million in targeted efficiency savings. 

    Legislative Approval Required 

    In option two, the FY 2016 fourth quarter KPERS payment would be delayed, as provided for in 2016 House Substitute for SB 161, but repayment would not be made until FY 2018. Legislative approval to reduce KPERS contributions and delay repayments would be provided to the Governor through a budget proviso. 

    Option Three Governor’s Allotment Authority The Governor would use his special allotment authority to reduce most of the remaining sales tax going into the State Highway Fund. This would transfer $70.0 million to the State General Fund in FY 2016 and $115.0 million in FY 2017. 

    Legislative Approval Required 

    In option three, three to five percent expenditure reductions would be made to most state agencies for FY 2017 and would total $139.3 million. Following is a summary of the reductions that would be made to state agencies: 

    3.0 percent reduction 

    Department for Aging & Disability Services (excludes HCBS appropriation) – $11,001,850 

    Department of Agriculture – $296,831 

    Department of Administration (excludes debt service) – $282,047 

    Fort Hays State University – $1,016,467 

    Office of the Governor – $201,225 

    Kansas Guardianship Program – $34,389 

    Health & Environment—Environment – $133,228 

    Historical Society – $130,885 

    Department of Labor – $9,363 

    KSU—Veterinary Medical Center – $452,898 

    Kansas State University—ESARP – $1,422,673 

    Emporia State University – $948,769 

    Pittsburg State University – $1,085,716 

    State Library – $120,751 

    Board of Regents (excludes debt service) – $5,930,603 

    Court of Tax Appeals – $23,837 

    Department for Children & Families (excludes caseloads) – $4,225,999 

    Department of Education* – $ 57,262,285   

    * The Department of Education reduction excludes KPERS, bond/interest aid, LOB aid and Capital Outlay aid. 

    University of Kansas Medical Center – $3,365,797 

    Kansas Water Office – $34,637 

    5.0 percent reduction 

    Health & Environment—Health – $35,636,050 

    Kansas State University – $5,122,604 

    University of Kansas (excludes debt service) – $6,814,504 

    Wichita State University – $3,728,210 


  • March 22, 2016 1:32 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The 2016 Kansas Legislative Session is pushing toward First Adjournment March 23 or 24. Osawatomie State Hospital has received two informational hearings and plenty of legislative attention - focusing on CMS disqualifying the hospital from Medicare reimbursement.   Two bills carry Senate amendments that will prevent the State from privatizing state mental health hospitals without specific legislative approval.  A similar proviso was included in the first budget bill - already signed by the Governor.

    The Jason Flatts Act for suicide prevention training in schools (SB 323) has passed the Senate and House and is headed for conference committee.  See Testimony below.  This bill was amended by the House to include the provisions of a bill to implement seclusion and restraint policies for schools.

    Legislation to impose step therapy for Medicaid prescriptions (SB 341) has strong opposition from various health advocacy organizations, but was passed by the Senate 23 - 16 in February.  The House Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing but took no further action - the bill is considered a vehicle for Medicaid Expansion and House leadership is avoiding such bills.  Advocates expect the bill to be inserted into a conference committee bill because it carries a heavy fiscal note - projecting $10.6 million savings.  

    Mental Health Advocacy Day attracted around 300 participants on March 15 and featured a public rally with speeches from Senator Caryn Tyson, Rep. Kathy Wolfe-Moore, and Interim KDADS Secretary Tim Keck.  The weather turned cold and windy, but participants were rewarded with powerful poetry by Sherrie Purpose Hall and Nick Givechi.  Participants were recognized in the Senate by Senator David Haley.  The House Social Services Budget Committee held an informational hearing on the report of the Adult Continuum of Care Committeee that was convened by KDADS last summer.  The hearing was a robust and positive give and take about the shortcomings of the current mental health system and how to improve the continuum.

    The Legislature will be on spring break through April until the veto session April 27.

    See KMHC testimony below:

    2016 Testimony in Support of SB 447 Behavioral Health Tax Checkoff

    2016 Testimony for HSSBC Informational Hearing on the Adult Continuum of Care Committee

    2016 Testimony in Support of SB 232 Jason Flatt Act for Suicide Prevention Training

    2016 Testimony Opposed to SB 341 Medicaid Step Therapy Senate Public Health Committee

    2016 Testimony to House Social Services Budget Committee on the Medicaid Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee


  • March 15, 2016 9:21 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Report included dozens of recommendations

    By Megan Hart | March 15, 2016

    http://www.khi.org/news/article/mental-health-rally-highlights-continuum-of-care-reform 

    Advocates, committee try to craft consensus to fix Kansas mental health systemPhoto by Andy MarsoRep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, a Democrat from Kansas City, said the state needs to remove the stigma from mental illness and treat it like physical conditions.

    If he had a magic wand, Bill Persinger would turn back time to May 2009.

    Failing that, however, he would increase resources for crisis care and substance abuse treatment, said Persinger, who is CEO of Valeo Behavioral Health Care.

    Photo by Dave RanneyRep. Will Carpenter, a Republican from El Dorado, said he hopes the Social Services Budget committee will have a proposal to improve the state's mental health system by the end of this session.

    View larger photo

    Rep. Will Carpenter, chair of the House Social Services Budget committee, asked Persinger and two other people who testified before the committee on Tuesday afternoon what they would do to fix the state’s mental health system if given a magic wand as a way of narrowing down priorities. The Adult Continuum of Care Committee had produced a report with dozens of recommendations, but confronting them all at once would be impossible given limited resources, Carpenter said.

    Persinger said he chose May 2009 because the Community Mental Health Centers were relatively well-funded and could see people needing help within a reasonable time. Now, the centers struggle to find providers, and the state as a whole lacks resources to assist people who have mental illnesses with finding transportation, housing and jobs, he said.

    “I can find a psychiatrist. I can’t pay for them. They don’t earn back enough in fees,” he said. “The issue isn’t the lack of available people. It’s about finding them and getting them to stay and paying them enough. There a lot of other, more attractive places to go” than Kansas.

    Rick Cagan, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Kansas, said the state needs to improve its inpatient care. It also should explore peer-run respite facilities, which have been successful in other states, he said. Respite facilities are run by people who also experience mental illness, and can provide a low-stress environment for people who are dealing with a flare-up in their symptoms but who don’t need hospital care.

    “I think (respite facilities) would be a wonderful return on investment,” he said. “More public-private partnerships are what we’re shooting for so individuals can be hospitalized, if necessary, closer to home.”

    Amy Campbell, director of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, said the state needs to fund wrap-around services, because they decrease the likelihood a person will end up in jail or the state hospital, and offer incentives for people to go into mental health careers. She suggested the state also should continue investing in short-term crisis facilities like RSI, a small stabilization center operating in the former Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City.

    “They don’t have as many repeat customers coming back in crisis” after a stay at RSI, she said. “It’s sort of the low-hanging fruit, something you know that works.”

    Campbell objected strongly, however, when Kelly Ludlum, deputy secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said the department expects the crisis facilities to eventually become at least partially financially independent. Most people seeking crisis services don’t have Medicaid or private insurance, meaning the facility doesn’t have any way to collect payment for services provided to them, Campbell said.

    “If the state is not going to have an ongoing role in the existence of these entities, then just forget it. These are not profit-making facilities,” she said. “I’m not saying the state has to pay all the costs. The state has to help that (type of facility) survive.”

    Photo by Andy MarsoTim Keck, the interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, speaks at a mental health rally Tuesday. Keck told the crowd that Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kansas, should be a model for continuum of care reforms.

    View larger photo

    About 200 people attended a rally hosted by mental health advocates earlier in the day. At the rally, KDADS secretary Tim Keck said the Rainbow transition could serve as a model for other communities. He also said the state is working to improve staffing at its two struggling psychiatric hospitals and he expects the one in Osawatomie to be recertified by the federal government soon.

    But Keck acknowledged that challenges remain.

    “Our current system is stretched beyond its capacity,” Keck said.

    Starting toward solutions

    Carpenter said he intends for the committee to consider the advocates’ priorities and the other priorities from the Continuum of Care report as soon as its schedule allows. Its task will be to build a consensus that it can promote in a difficult budget year, he said.

    “I want to come out of here with a statement from this committee on mental health and where we can head that we can sell to the rest of our legislative friends,” he said.

    The state already is spending to treat people in the psychiatric hospitals and to house them in jail, Carpenter said, so the committee needs to come up with a consensus on how the state could save money long-term by investing in other areas of the mental health system. Most people are affected either directly or indirectly by mental health and substance abuse disorders, making it an issue the state needs to address now, he said.

    “This problem is there, it’s real and it’s being lived throughout our state,” he said. “I know we don’t have the resources, but we can’t just sit here and throw up our hands and say ‘We don’t have the resources.’”

    The issue isn’t the lack of available people. It’s about finding them and getting them to stay and paying them enough."

    - Bill Persinger, CEO of Valeo Behavioral Health Care

    Cagan said he wasn’t under any illusions the issues could be fixed quickly. The state needs a 10-year plan to begin reshaping its mental health system, he said, and may need to look even further into the future.

    “It’s a huge amount of gaps in our system. We can’t do them all at once. But we need a plan,” he said.

    Persinger said he sees one clear advantage in trying to improve mental health care in Kansas now: people who weren’t interested before are paying attention.

    “For one of the first times in my career, people want to talk about mental health other than when it affects their family,” he said.

    Checkoff could fund mental health programs

    The Senate Assessment and Taxation committee heard about one option to raise more funds for mental health programs on Tuesday, though it almost certainly would fall far short of what would be needed for system-wide changes.

    Senate Bill 447 would allow people to donate money while filing their state tax return to a fund for grants to raise awareness and reduce stigma related to mental illness and substance abuse. The Department of Revenue would deposit money into a specific fund, which the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services could use to fund the grants.

    Kansas currently allows people to choose from several funds on their tax return, including Meals on Wheels, habitat preservation for threatened species and breast cancer research.

    Kelly Ludlum, deputy secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said donated funds would be used for grants. The department would have to see how much money was donated and what proposals from community groups would maximize those funds before deciding how to distribute it, she said.

    “Generally, prevention offers more bang for the buck,” she said.

    One particular area of need is suicide prevention, Ludlum said. KDADS currently doesn’t fund any programs focused on the signs a person is contemplating suicide or how to get help. In 2014, 454 people in Kansas died by suicide, making it the 10th-leading cause of death overall and the second-leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.

    Colin Thomasset, associate director for the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, said the association supports the bill, but would like to see it cover grants for treatment.

    “We feel that this might be an oversight in the bill, as allowable programs involve awareness, prevention and stigma reduction – all very worthy aspects that can use more money,” he said. “However, it is also important to note that investing in community-based mental health services directly lowers healthcare costs.”

    Campbell agreed that treatment should be added to the list of possible uses of the grant funds. Implementing the checkoff would be a positive step, she said, but it won’t solve the state mental health system’s problems on its own.

    “The legislature should commit to close gaps in the continuum of care, and this could be a starting place,” she said. “447 won’t solve all of our problems in the mental health system, but it would be one more tool in the toolbox.”

    The nonprofit KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor reporting collaboration. All stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to KHI.org when a story is reposted online.

    - See more at: http://www.khi.org/news/article/mental-health-rally-highlights-continuum-of-care-reform#sthash.QhRXnhCn.dpuf


  • March 15, 2016 1:35 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)


    Mental Health Advocates Rally for a Robust Mental Health System




    By Lindsay Sax  | 

    Posted: Tue 1:02 PM, Mar 15, 2016

         

    TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Mental health advocates from across the state convened at the Statehouse to raise awareness that support services are important to Kansas communities.

    The Kansas Mental Health Coalition is sponsoring Tuesday’s event. It started with more than 350 members of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, advocates, patients and supports at an advocacy rally on the south side of the Statehouse.

    “Our biggest fears in the state of Kansas is that we will have continues erosion of the both outpatient and inpatient mental health services,” said Susan Crain Lewis, president, Kansas Mental Health Coalition.

    Crain Lewis says that the cuts in mental health funding will leave patients needing help without care.

    “When those services are not available those individuals that end up in crisis, they end up on our streets, they end up in our jails, they end up in our emergency rooms; none of the places are they getting treatment,” she said.

    In the afternoon Crain Lewis says that an informational hearing on the Adult Continuum of Care Report will be held. She says it is a step in the right direction discussing what a robust, effective mental health delivery system looks like.


  • August 17, 2015 10:57 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)


    August 10, 2015      For more information, contact:
    Angela de Rocha, Director of Communications
    Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services
    785-806-7482

    TOPEKA – Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Dr. Susan Mosier and Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Kari Bruffett announced today a series of public forums to discuss integration of the state’s home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs.

    The forums are scheduled to be conducted in Topeka, Wichita, Kansas City, Coffeyville and Garden City. The agencies also plan to conduct one or more teleconference calls to discuss waiver integration, which will be announced at a later date.

    “Our goal is to speak to Kansans receiving HCBS services to understand and address their frustrations with the current waiver system,” Dr. Mosier said. “These forums will provide Kansans who are on HCBS waivers and their families the opportunity to give input about how the waivers work for them.”

    KDADS administers seven individual home- and community-based services Medicaid waivers for individuals with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury and autism, those with a need for technology assistance, youth with a serious emotional disturbance and the frail elderly. There are a specific list of services provide under each individual waiver.

    “A new 1115 waiver would allow us to establish an integrated set of services that would be available to all waiver recipients regardless of the waiver in which they are enrolled,” Secretary Bruffett said. “We want to move toward a system that no longer defines individuals by a specific disability, but rather by their needs and capabilities. CMS approval of a new Kansas 1115 Medicaid waiver would give us the ability to provide the right services to individuals regardless of their disability definition.”

    Participants may RSVP for these public meetings at the following link:

    http://www.kdads.ks.gov/commissions/csp/home-community-based-services-(hcbs)/hcbs-current-news

    Details of the forums are as follows:

    Tuesday, August 25
    Topeka Capitol Plaza Hotel
    1717 SW Topeka Blvd.
    Topeka, KS
    10:30 am-12 pm
    2-3:30 pm
    5:30-7 pm

    Wednesday, August 26
    Kansas City Hilton Garden Inn
    520 Minnesota Ave.
    Kansas City, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm
    5:30-7 pm

    Wednesday, August 26
    Wichita Marriott
    9100 Corporate Hills Drive
    Wichita, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm
    5:30-7 pm

    Thursday, August 27
    Coffeyville Sleep Inn & Suite
    202 W 11th Street
    Coffeyville, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm

    Thursday, August 27
    Garden City Clarion Inn
    1911 E Kansas Ave
    Garden City, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm

    If a person with a disability needs a reasonable accommodation to participate in the call they should contact Laura Leistra at 785.296.4980 or by email atLaura.Leistra@kdads.ks.gov by Friday, August 21.



(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4103, Topeka, KS  66604-0103         785-969-1617

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